Emily Gullikson analyzes the Oaklawn Park April 18 card and provides her OptixEQ analysis.
A competitive race for N2L claimers with a “Yellow” PlotFit in play, a scenario that does not allow for any runner in this field a real strong pace advantage. That is often the case with the “Yellow,” looking for horses capable to get a “trip” based on their position on the Plot, even if a real edge is lacking, and backed up with OptixGRID/NOTES to support under today’s conditions.
#3 F F ROCKET holds a slight separation on OptixPLOT sitting in Quad II. He will return to the same conditions as his January 24 race. As shown in the Past 3 Runlines, he earned a B OptixGRADE for that place finish as well as an 86 OptixFIG, a number in RANGE/OFR for today. The OptixNOTE on March 13 is also worth mention as the Extended Note (xN) expands on the TACTIC- and WIDE to detail he had minimal chance racing wide against the track profile that favored inside runners on the day while on hold by the rider. Not only was F F Rocket against the profile and with poor rider tactics, but from a race condition standpoint was not in the right spot to compete given that higher starter allowance level (90-84 OFR) and even the route distance as a potential negative as well.
#7 ALL EYES WEST is positioned as a Circle in Quad I, capable to win from that position, again even as a real “edge” is lacking. His form cycle since coming back off the layoff has some hidden angles that should allow for him to compete in this spot. The form cycle starts back on February 5, the first race off a 100-day layoff. He recorded an 82 OptixFIG, a number in RANGE/OFR for today’s claiming event. Note that afternoon he was in a higher claiming race, a race with an 88-80 OFR. Overmatched in that event, he was actually stepped up in class next time, despite running for a $25k claiming tag, as connections placed him above condition at the N3L level on February 25.
He was claimed out of that race, with new connections and trainer Jason Barkley protecting him first off the claim by running in the starter allowance on March 27. Not only was he protected, but also asked to run a route of ground at a two-turn, 8.5-furlong distance beyond his ideal. While he was the FTQ, the “first to quit” on the duel, he can be upgraded given the trip as well as the Very Fast (VF O4S) early pace set for that class and distance. As he makes his second start off the claim, he will race here at the right condition, the N2L level, as well as the right class and back at the sprint distance.
The same consideration with the “Yellow” PlotFit in Race 6 will be given to this statebred allowance in terms of pace without a clear-cut advantage or standout from any of the runners in the field.
#6 TOO PRETTY was a key horse on Circles and Squares from March 11 with the OptixNOTE Projection of PREP and STRETCH making her second start off the layoff and coming out of the January 30 sprint race along with the 274-day layoff. Too Pretty improved with the projectionsm earning a solid win and speed figure progression posting an 85 OptixFIG. As she lacks any “Red” Keywords in OptixNOTES, her form should not allow for any regression. She is capable of running back to the 85 OptixFIG and even improve if needed. In terms of Plot, she is positioned well on both Standard (current form) and Surface/Distance as a Quad I Square.
#7 FLATOUTANDFOXY also presents as a Square on both Standard and Surface/Distance in position to get a trip from off the pace, a potential scenario with the “Fire” Contention. This will be her fourth start of the season, and she has started to show progression with racing starting with that first race of the cycle as shown in the Past 3 Runlines back on January 31. Given the sprint distance as well as the 282-day layoff going into the race at the start of the meet, it looked to be a conditioning event. With a move forward projected, it was noted with reservations as she stepped out on the track wearing front wraps on February 25. That was the first start wearing wraps, and she again wore the wraps on April 3 – both of those starts against open company.
Looking for the removal of those front wraps is recommended as she has the potential to move forward this afternoon and could be sitting on a peak race of this form cycle. She was able to make that required step forward on April 3, recording a B- OptixGRADE as well as the improved 73 OptixFIG, showing progression from her prior two starts this season. That could continue here as she has yet to run back to a previous top race from prior seasons. She shows some positive intent by the connections’ wheeling right back into this event, just 15 days following that recent improved effort. That intention is also paired with the placement today in state-bred company and could be further boosted by the front wrap removal.