Emily Gullikson analyzes the Oaklawn Park March 31 card and provides her OptixEQ analysis.
The “Sun” Contention and 30 SpeedRate does not create any pace advantage for morning line favorite #9 LUCKY EVERY DAY positioned as a Circle in Quad I creating an opportunity to look outside of the projected race favorite. She projects to find pace pressure from #1 B’S LIL’ BUMBLEBEE and #2 GOLD N SEXY, both drawn inside sharing Quad I, as well as pressure from #10 LOUEMMA given her outside post and need to clear to get into the race based on her Plot position to compete this afternoon.
The pace dynamic could set up for #3 LIL TATER, scratched out of a slightly higher claiming event last Friday to run here, and sits right in RANGE this afternoon. She was given a look in that March 26 race based on a positive form cycle and value, both that still are in play here. This will be her third start off the layoff and cycling back to the BTL (better than looked) race her first start off a 126-day layoff and out of the key race on Jan. 30 – a race shown in the Past 3 Runlines. #6 SHOOT ME STRAIGHT finds herself in a similar position tracking as a Quad II Square and presents upside of her own (and value given the morning line) as she makes her second start of the form cycle. The slow starts (SLOG) in her two most recent races have kept her off the pace early, and with a clean break today is capable of sitting the trip she needs to compete. In addition, she holds OptixFIG in RANGE (OFR) from her races here at Oaklawn Park last season.
This is a textbook example of a “Yellow” PlotFit Race where the Standard and Surface/Distance Plots show minimal changes and horses more or less lining up along the diagonal line, though things might not quite be as they appear. At first glance on the Plot, #4 SEA TO SUCCESS looks to have a major pace advantage as a Quad I Square and above the Par Line, a position that could create a gate-to-wire result. On deeper look, there is perhaps more contention possible given the lightly raced nature of the field, some “trips” from horses with less than five starts and horses coming back in their three-year-old season that might not be as represented true-to-form on the Plot.
The OptixRPM (RunStyleMatch) provides some clues here showing #1 JACKMAN, #2 SPOTTED BULL, and #7 WAYAKIN as E or EP runners, a tell that they could be racing more as Quad I types today. With that in mind our clear pacesetter, Sea to Success, is shown with the P RunStyle, which is similar for #5 EASTSIDE COOL and #8 COLD AS HELL also sharing Quad I and positioned near the Par Line. If Sea to Success does not run here as that dominant pacesetter, this scenario suggests some chaos and could set up for a tracking runner.
#3 OUTLIER fits with the RunStyleMatch sitting a Square in Quad II. Overall he is a tough one to get excited about as he has been rather common on the track, though could just find the right spot to compete today and some subtle upgrades from his races here this season. Both races with the WIDE trip which played a role in his finishing position and speed figures. He is also a slight “flow upgrade” from the Feb. 5 event with the race slowing late after a very fast early pace (VF O4S) that setup for rival Citi Charm. Outlier will make his first start since that race and claimed by Brad Cox out that event last month. He is given the “kitchen sink” treatment here showing up as a first-time gelding and the blinkers added. It is encouraging that he will race protected here first off the claim and a rider change with the barn’s main rider Geroux getting aboard.
Both #6 CITI CHARM and #9 FLAT OUT AVENGER are a bit light when it comes to OptixFIG for RANGE, though are not far off the numbers run by many in this field. The pair present some upside given progression this season as sophomore runners and in a nice pattern in their form cycle that along with the race dynamic could see them competitive this afternoon.
Track Updates with At a Glance data from Brisnet.