May 26, 2024

OptixEQ analyzes Feb. 17 Bayakoa and Southwest at Oaklawn Park

Oaklawn Park Racing
Oaklawn Park Racing (Vance Hanson photo)


A six-pack of fillies and mares to contest the first graded stakes on the Oaklawn Park holiday race card. The analysis starts with the morning line favorite #6 WHOA NELLIE as she makes her second start of the meet following an impressive (B+ OptixGrade) performance in the Pippin S. The Pippin has been a productive race for many coming out of that race with success in their next starts. WHOA NELLIE fits in this field as a contender; however, trip will be key for her given her running style and position on OptixPLOT in Quad IV.

The “SnowflakeContention rating is combined with the higher 84 SpeedRate, and visually shown on OptixPLOT with four of the six runners to the left of the y-axis as well as most of the field positioned above the Par Line. This type of scenario requires a level of “finish” and upgrades Squares while downgrading Circles – #4 MOTION EMOTION and #5 LADY SUEBEE. Both #1 GOLD STANDARD and #2 GO GOOGLE YOURSELF have tactical speed (Quad III) and the ability to finish shown as their large Squares. Quad III can be a tricky read in terms of pace, though favorable position as noted on Standard Plot according to QuadSTAT winning at 14.9%.


A competitive edition of the Southwest run at 8 1/2 furlongs. Many of the horses in this field are coming into the race in good form and already with a race around two turns which is beneficial looking to the pace scenario on OptixPLOT2020.

A pair of legit contenders #2 SILVER PROSPECTOR and #9 ANSWER IN have upside off their most recent races and capable to sit a favorable tracking trip with finish (Large Square) this afternoon.

SILVER PROSPECTOR ran from off the pace and against the dynamics in the Smarty Jones, a race won by his stablemate GOLD STREET setting a comfortable pace on the front end. SILVER PROSPECTOR ran against the flow (X_FLOW) and showed a good middle MOVE making up ground and position late.

ANSWER IN has earned B+ OptixGRADES in each of his three starts and on class makes him a fit in his first graded stakes appearance. He ran a strong race in the Springboard Mile with adversity to finishing in a tight photo for the win.

The pace should be honest with the contention #1 WELLS BAYOU, #4 GOLD STREET and #5 AMERICAN BUTTERFLY positioned in Quad I. All three ran here at Oaklawn earlier this meet and turning in solid efforts, respectively. The contention should be a test here for WELLS BAYOU and GOLD STREET both able to run their race on the front end with ground saving trips and moderate paces in their recent wins. The pace scenario changes here, and this pair will have to “prove it” under different race dynamics and moving up into graded stakes. The pace scenario was also favorable for AMERICAN BUTTERFLY with some pace to move into at the sprint distance on February 2 in his place finish. He projects to be more forwardly placed as shown on OptixPLOT with today’s route distance, a distance that is questionable (stamina) for him.

#3 SHOPLIFTED turned in an average performance (C+ OptixGRADE) in the Smarty Jones on opening day. At this time of year these 3-year-old runners need to be making progression and that does not seem to be the case with him as his OptixFIG have remained stagnant – he would really need to turn things around this afternoon to continue on in this division.

#6 CHASE TRACKER has OptixFIG that fit on par (OptixFIGRANGE) shipping in for Todd Pletcher. He has some route as well as graded stakes experience. Capable to compete this afternoon, but he will have to improve off the B- OptixGRADES in the recent Grade 3 races.

#7 VILLAINOUS has a tall task coming off his maiden win, a favorable trip back on opening day. He will have to really move forward off that effort in terms of OptixFIG, and that is questionable based on his visuals (NO_LINE) drifting out late.

#8 TAISHAN’s OptixFIG are a bit light coming into this race; however, he does present upside in that department making his second start of the season. He had a subtle trip in the Sham (G3) after a slow start (SLOG) and racing behind a very-slow (VS) opening half-mile and chasing the open-length, front- running winner Authentic late.