Emily Gullikson analyzes the Oaklawn Park April 23 card and provides her OptixEQ analysis.
#3 POLAR WIND will be tested here as he steps up in class today, though has solid form this meet and could find the right race shape for his running style. As shown in the Past 3 Runlines, he is devoid of any “Red” Keywords and comes off a pair of BTL Keyword efforts in his most recent races. The Quad IV, off-the-pace, Closer/C RunStyle and class hike will require compensation, and the 10-1 morning line suggests that to be the case. The Sun Contention combined with the 84 SpeedRate should assist him, an added benefit in this compact field with the “bunched” visual from the other five runners on OptixPLOT.
#2 NECKER ISLAND, last seen as an also-ran longshot in the Kentucky Derby (G1), will make his 2021 debut. He looks well placed here with OptixFIG in RANGE as well as class relief moving out from the stakes division to get some confidence. From his position on the Plot, he can get a trip even being part of that Contention, as he has the benefit of being the Large Square in that set and slightly tracking from Quad II.
#5 BACKGROUND holds some upside here today as he has been steadily improving with each race this season with progressive OptixFIG. There is some upside for him coming off the third-place finish on March 19 with the TRAFFIC trip and noting the top two that day raced one-two around the track from start to finish.
Class is a concern for #6 BRUDER BOB, one that is likely to get some attention here off his speed figures. There is some upside given those numbers in RANGE as well as Plot position. The C+ OptixGRADE at this level back on March 6 sits below par for this allowance condition, a factor of class. That is similar for #1 MO’S MOJO recording a C+ at this allowance level in his most recent start, and he has the challenge of today’s race shape as a Quad I Circle with higher SpeedRate.
#4 LYKAN ran a B- OptixGRADE at this level in his most recent start April 1. That race was contested at a sprint distance, a more familiar trip for this Mason colt, and he still has to prove himself at a route of ground with the “NO KEEP” Keyword, a Keyword that has been recorded in both of his two-turn races to date. He is also a slight mismatch in terms of OptixRPM with today’s route distance. He is shown as a “C” Closer RunStyle, his preferred style, and today is positioned in a Quad I/II trip.
#7 COROT could hold a pace advantage this afternoon given his early speed and Plot position. The race shape in terms of value is notable with the two morning-line favorites, #1 COWORKER and #5 FLAT LUCKY, both off-the-pace runners in Quad IV making them potentially vulnerable under today’s conditions at that projected shorter price. Corot will make his third start of the season and with OptixFIG in RANGE for this starter allowance in addition to the pace advantage with separation in Quad I, the only runner in this field above the Par Line.
#2 ROYAL COMMISSION is also worth a look and an upgrade in here coming out of the April 2 race recording a 92 OptixFIG, a speed figure also in RANGE. He has upside in terms of his form with this race as the second start of the cycle and given the WIDE trip into an honest pace (X_FLOW) coming back off that 68-day break.
#3 CLEAR THE MINE is slightly below based on his recent OptixFIG even though he has a win at a similar starter allowance event on January 24 earlier at this meet. The OFR (RANGE) was slightly lower that afternoon at 90-82 than today’s 95-87 RANGE. Value will have to be taken into account as he could get attention off those recent races and the connections, even as trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. has not had much luck here at Oaklawn and is still looking for the first win of the meet. #8 HE’S MUNNIE is another in here capable to get a trip as a Quad III Square and alternative to those Quad IV runners. He is another that could also get public attention when value is required coming off the place finish last month at Will Rogers Downs, a “best of the speed” place finish behind the 2-5 winner in a four horse field.