Emily Gullikson analyzes the Oaklawn Park April 9 card and provides her OptixEQ analysis.
#8 SANTA ANA WINDS will need a lot of racing luck in terms of trip from Quad IV, though could have the right scenario this afternoon and some subtle upside in her form cycle. She will find some class relief from her races this season and prefers a fast main track. She was able to show run despite poor rider handling (TACTIC-) after a slow start (SLOG) with a late MOVE and overall visuals to suggest the IMPROVE is available. She has two route races last season here on the fast main track, both efforts recording an 81 OptixFIG – a figure above today’s 76-70 RANGE. This can be seen on the “HorseRecord V-Bar” shown above the Past 3 Runlines, with the “HorseFASTDIRTwinPCT” the dark blue bar visually. When making a case for a longshot, creativity (and luck) is key; keeping in mind if they were “obvious,” the number on the board would reflect that.
In order to get the required trip, Santa Ana Winds will require both #1 FABULOUS GIRL and #5 INDIAN BELLA to engage in a duel as shown on the Plot overlapping in Quad I. The pace will need to remain honest and on the higher side of that 38 SpeedRate which could occur with #2 BIG TINY stretching out to a route from her recent series of sprints. Both #3 JULIE ARKANSAS and #7 HUSH Y’ALL – another pair that has spent much of their racing career sprinting – will stick with the route attempt today. That requires their riders to keep somewhat close to the pacesetters, should they want to be competitive this afternoon. #6 MONKEY MIND is capable to show tactical speed as well. She is a bit of an unknown making her fast track debut and could lack value with that unknown in play. #4 VEILAZIG will also make the surface switch back to the main track today. She is also capable to show tactical speed, keying off her main track races from last June as well as the trip last month. In that race on the turf at Sam Houston, she wanted to be forwardly placed, but was forced to check and steady into the first turn. She ultimately ran on hold behind the pacesetters from the rail before losing ground.
The pace scenario here is about as true a “Red” PlotFit as they come, and that has to be considered when handicapping this race from a pace perspective. Looking at the Plot, #2 EXOTIC WEST and #5 SISTER ANNIE in Quad I possess controlling speed based on their races to date and capable given that pace edge to compete here. It becomes a bit more “fuzzy” looking at how the rest of the field has won in the past and factoring in those running styles to get a better idea of how this race could play out. Those races are “filtered” out below in OptixGRID. As shown in the image below and keeping in mind some sprint races mixed in, most of the field prefers to be a length or less off the lead at the first call.
Cycling back to the Plot and factoring form cycle, #1 WILLFUL WOMAN and #7 ABSOLUTE ANNA could find the right trip for their RunStyle and at the right class level to compete.
Willful Woman will find the required class relief (DROP) and race back on Lasix today coming out of the Honeybee S. (G3) last month to this allowance class.
Absolute Anna has improved her OptixFIG with each start and ran a competitive B- OptixGRADE at this allowance condition, a GRADE in line with both Exotic West and Sister Annie coming out of the same March 11 event. Sister Annie was tracked by the eventual winner and allowed to set a Very Slow (VS O4s) opening half-mile while doing her best to hold in a blanket for show. Absolute Anna raced WIDE off that Very Slow opening half move before putting in a late MOVE. The potential favorable race scenario, the addition of blinkers here, as well as the route experience last month could move her forward today. It is also worth noting connections had considered running in the Honeybee, scratching out of that March 6 graded stakes race before taking the allowance event instead.