Emily Gullikson analyzes the Oaklawn Park April 25 card and provides her OptixEQ analysis.
Pace becomes a major handicapping factor in this claiming event with both #4 CABERTOSS and #7 JUSTIN’S QUEST sitting together in Quad I. Both horses are questionable on their current form with Justin’s Quest coming out of some subpar efforts (C+ OptixGRADE) as the favorite in his recent Santa Anita races. Cabertoss will wheel right back off the April 8 race, going out for a HOT barn and looking live that afternoon (for prior trainer Diodoro) going first off the long layoff. This pair would be required to put forth a peak effort to compete at this level and there are current form cycle concerns this afternoon whether this spot is ideal for that type of run.
The form cycle concern is again combined with the pace scenario in Quad I paired with 45 SpeedRate. Looking at Standard both #6 BULLION and #9 MAJOR ATTRACTION are positioned above the Par Line and with both horses previously kept sprinting are capable to show more early foot today and keep the pace honest. That is similar for #8 ALLEN shown in Quad III and in position at the first call (Plot position left-to-right) to keep pressure on Cabertoss and Justin’s Quest.
This scenario upgrades Quad II, starting with #3 URBANITE. He is a solid fit as a contender back at this claiming level after earning a B OptixGRADE shown in the Past 3 Runlines here on February 5. He will make his second start off the claim, claimed out of that February event by McKnight, and was protected at the starter allowance level on March 27. These connections are wise to bring him back into a spot he has already proven competitive at this meet. #5 DERBY CODE, also in Quad II, has upside as he makes his third start of the form cycle and reclaimed by Garcia. His form cycle started over following the B+ OptixGRADE claiming win on March 7, a top effort that afternoon with the 88 OptixFIG.
Even with the “Fire” Contention, the SpeedRate is on the lower side (all runners below the Par Line), a scenario that upgrades the lone Quad I Square, #4 PERFECT HAPPINESS. The potential pace scenario could be on her side today as she returns from the 218-day layoff and makes her first start for trainer Brad Cox.
Half of the field will make a first start of the season and from a layoff of more than 200 days, a scenario that gives an added look to those with recency. #1 CANDURA had the challenge coming back from a long layoff of 913 days on April 8. Clearly well prepared for that race, she was also well handled by rider Torres and has some positive intent returning here after that win only 17 days ago. #2 READY TO RUNAWAY, who also had the layoff on March 18, seemed to need the race, as evidenced by both horse and rider on the day. She was not asked to show the early speed she was capable of and did not do much running from off the pace, in an uncharacteristic effort that afternoon. It’s reasonable to think with the return to the higher allowance company, she is capable of turning out an improved run today.