October 1, 2023

Oaklawn Park Circles & Squares Analysis for March 4

OptixEQ Circles and Squares
OptixEQ Circles and Squares


The “Yellow” PlotFit kicks off today’s Optional Claiming event when looking at the race shape. The horses in the field shift off the “diagonal” line that runs from top left to bottom right, the conditions required for a “Green” PlotFit. While some interpretation will be required for pace, though the standout aspect is the high 67 SpeedRate. That is shown alongside the “Snowflake” Contention as well as visually on the Plot with more than half of the field above the pair line.

This type of scenario looks to set up a runner from off the pace and takes a different approach starting at the back half of the field with those Quad IV Square horses. #7 OCELIA shows a subtle shift on the Plot from Standard to Surface/Distance and comes into this race off a layoff and from the three race win streak last year at Indiana Grand. She will have to overcome the layoff as well as the class change stepping up from those races last season. Historically, she has “needed” a race coming off the layoff looking at the two similar layoff races in her running lines. Haran has sent out some live runners this meet and runners with Bailey aboard, though the inclination is that she will need the race though one can make the case to use her at the right number taking a stab or including as a spread.

#1 WEST SIDE GIRL has current form this meet and will return to the conditions from January 9th where she finished second with the 78 OptixFIG and BTL B- OptixGRADE effort. She was claimed out of that race by the Borel team and was stepped up in class last month to run in a higher level ($101k) Optional Claiming event and will wheel right back today with the logical drop. As far as her race on February 13th, she was not asked for run (TACTIC-) allowed to race well off the pace tracking a slow opening half move (Slow/S O4S).  Her OptixFIG this season and in 2021 stack up in the OptixFIGRANGE (OFR) and some required value compensation with her Run Style should be there (and required) with the colder connections still looking for their first win of the meet.

#6 LEA RO is one that takes some creativity and the right number as she sits on the Plot as a Quad IV Circle. She holds some hidden form and OptixFIG that stack up in Range for today’s race as she makes her second start off the claim for John Cox. She ran in the common race back on January 6th and was slightly taken out of her running style that afternoon chasing close to a fast (Fast/F O4S) opening half mile before losing ground. That race and return first off the claim just 19-days later on January 28th are playing a role in her Plot Position and Red OptixRPM shown above the Plot. Lea Ro has some upside in her form cycle as one that tends to run an “every other” race pattern when given more time between starts, that is the case here with 35-days between starts and the race back in late January to suggest positive intent.

#8 SHABAM finds herself with similar conditions to play as Ocelia with the changes from Standard to Surface/Distance. Even though she is positioned to the right of the y-axis, unlike Ocelia, Shabam is shown as a Circle as well as above the ParLine to suggest she could be part of that 67 SpeedRate and against today’s dynamic.

#9 A BROKEN BREEZE also finds some changes on the Plot shifting from the Surface/Distance Quad IV Circle to the Standard (current form) Quad III Square. As far as Surface/Distance, there is a lot more upside as she has just limited data in her main track route races, which does include the Tapeta events from Woodbine. That Plot position in that smaller race sample includes the December 26th race here at Oaklawn Park when she was taken out of her “P” RunStyle breaking slow and RUSH-ed for the lead and PRESSED on the front end before losing (NO_KEEP) ground and resulting in that distant 7th-place result. Three of her other main track (Tapeta) races were run in her juvenile season and in addition to some trips according to OptixNOTES, those early season races do not represent her ability now as a six-year-old mare. The other set of races show OptixFIG of 82, 83 and 87, all numbers that stack up in today’s OFR to compete at this level. She will return in this spot off the freshening suggesting some positive intent for McKnight with a rider change to Hiraldo with the five-pound apprentice weight allowance as well as the blinkers coming off, a short experiment following that December 31st race. She shows three well-spaced return works to prepare for this race including a “bullet” from the gate on an off-track here on February 17th.

Side note on workouts and “bullet” drills: The “bullet” works can take on different roles depending on the circumstances. While typically seen as a positive, when a horse is showing up for a claiming tag or at the claiming level that “fast” work can often be used to entice buyers and does have to be considered here with A Broken Breeze as she drops back in for a tag. At the same time, the work should be looked at in context (and preferred to be looked at visually though that is more often than not unavailable) of how the horse generally works. In the case of A Broken Breeze, she is one that does typically work fast while she does not show other “bullets” in the recent published series of works, she does show the faster works from last season at Woodbine to support that her working fast in the morning is more common than a strong indicator of positive or negative in one direction or another.

This race analysis started off by discussing the higher SpeedRate and looking to play against the Quad I/III horses that project vulnerability in today’s race shape. That includes #2 TEENAGE KICKS and #3 CHAKRA as Standard Quad I Circles. These two should be joined by #5 LADY MCKENZIE, upgraded of the group as a Surface/Distance Square though likely to show the “E” Quad I speed based on her front running success from last year at Indiana Grand, with Cabrera looking to try and score gate-to-wire. As far as the Standard, that current form is crucial (as the lack of finish/Circle) in this case as she comes with some reservations given the “double layoff” lines and returning today in for the claiming tag. Those same conditions apply to #4 CATANIA, with the layoff lines and her early speed as she makes just her second start around two-turns coming back from the open length front running win on January 9th

Optix Graph