Race 3 and the Gardenia Stakes (Race 8) are analyzed by Optix to discover how the races shape up at Oaklawn Park on May 1, 2020.
A competitive allowance sprint for Arkansas fillies and mares will feature a group of familiar faces throughout this meet. #5 PRESLEY and #8 TOO PRETTY will make their first start against winners off strong maiden wins (and speed figures/OptixFIG) in their most recent starts and are expected to take some action based on those performances. #5 PRESLEY was making her first start back after almost a year away and ran a big race off the bench. With that said it should be noted she was able to make an EASY_LEAD and sat a LONE trip for the win. It is also noted she was tracked by the place finisher, with those two together at the wire. As shown on OptixPLOT2020, there is “Contention” for that spot on the lead and she is unlikely to find another LONE trip here. #8 TOO PRETTY is shown on Standard out in Quad I, and capable to be forwardly placed based on that position. However, her PLOT shape and position changes dramatically moving her to a Quad IV Circle on Surface/Distance. While able to win as the BOS (best of the speed) last out in the maiden win, that race was run at a mile and she set fractions that were much softer than expected here. She could find herself in trouble on that front trying to chase and run with some legit sprint speed in this field.
In terms of trip, #4 TIDDLY and #7 THE MARY ROSE look well placed to find the right tracking trip on their pacesetting Quad I rivals high up on the Y-Axis as tracking Squares. #4 TIDDLY is worth upgrading this afternoon coming out of the April 2nd race when dueling wide throughout and finishing in a blanket at the wire. She was not only wide, but was chasing outside a VF/Very Fast opening half-mile with the race shape slowing late. That “flow” upgrade already benefit THE MARY ROSE when she ran back just two weeks later and finished second in the Rainbow Miss Stakes.
Both #2 ALL ABOUT CLARA and #10 LIL TATER benefit from the Very Fast early race shape on April 2nd finding their way into the mix from off pace as part of that blanket finish. Should things heat up here they will look for a similar run closing as Squares from Quad IV. Throughout this season, ALL ABOUT CLARA has presented herself as that true closer, though the same cannot be said for LIL TATER. She ran as a “closer” in that most recent start after taking contact at the break (TROUBLE_S) and considering she was taken out of her run style, turned in a “BTL” effort however flow aided – with that noted, she is capable of racing closer to the pace than she was last out.
RACE 8 – GARDENIA STAKES
In a competitive full field of fillies, attention will be given to two improving fillies # 7 STRONG FLAG and #10 ANTOINETTE as contenders in this stakes event. STRONG FLAG has been based here at Oaklawn since the start of the meet and improved with each race in terms of OptixGRADE and OptixFIG. She will come into this race following a runner-up effort, a tight finish behind perfect trip winner and today’s rival #2 PIECE OF MY HEART. PIECE OF MY HEART benefited from the perfect pocket trip, but was drifting out (NO_LINE) after taking over the lead and had just enough to hold with STRONG FLAG making her late move to the wire. Trip (Quad III Square), form (B OptixGRADE), her OptixFIG in RANGE/RacePar, and the slight addition in distance look to benefit STRONG FLAG in this spot. ANTOINETTE will ship into Oaklawn to make her second start of the season this afternoon for Bill Mott. She exits the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2), a race she earned a solid B- OptixGRADE and the noted IMPROVE? OptixNOTES Projection in that effort. It should be noted that she did not only have some traffic from the rail sitting in the pocket, but also chasing up close to the pace in a result that saw the first two finishers close from off the pace.