A lot of familiar faces and names will show up to contest this higher level, $101k, allowance event. Before reading on, scroll down to the Plot, cover up the Past 3 Runlines and just from a visual standpoint look at the race, similar to when given the #PlotPuzzle. Take in that limited albeit unbiased piece of information, and then come back to the analysis.
Just from looking at the Plot, the race comes up competitive without knowing the individuals, and it is tough to pick out the “favorite” or horse to beat. The Plot also gives a tell visually as to the class level and race shape with the “Fire” Contention and higher 78 SpeedRate.
When looking at the Plot, the horse that was likely a first “toss” was #8 CONCERT TOUR, the Large Quad I Circle. This is one of those “name” horses that the public will recognize and even consider based on prior form as well as current connections. As a horse, he looks to struggle against this field according to the Plot, today’s Contention and SpeedRate.
His current form, the C OptixGRADE, NO_KEEP Keyword and 78 OptixFIG from his seasonal return in the Fifth Season S., where he was sent off as the favorite, sits well below RANGE to compete here. That current form is tough to take, especially at a shorter price if that again comes into play. As far as form, Concert Tour also shows a gap in his published works following his return race from Jan. 28 to Feb. 15, something common as the weather shut down racing and likely training the weekend of February 4-6. A case can be made that he can improve in his second start off the layoff and with the blinkers back on, as well as the rider change to Santana, a live rider for Cox this meet. Those playing this horse will actually be playing this trainer and likely taking an underlaid runner.
Concert Tour should be joined in the early stages of the race by his stablemate, #5 WELLS BAYOU positioned as a Quad I/III Square, the upgrade comparing the two Cox runners. Wells Bayou will make his first start of the season and his first start back in 317 days. The layoff should be considered as well as the same gap in the work tab from earlier this month, though that training gap is less of a concern in this case with a solid foundation already in place and with the key drill, the “bullet” work on Jan. 20 already recorded. Wells Bayou fits in this race off his Oaklawn Park form, OptixFIG/GRADES to compete in this allowance race, a spot where he can regain some confidence following a series of stakes races since his sophomore season.
#2 MUCHO also projects to be forwardly placed as a Quad I Square on both Standard and Surface/Distance. He was tested for stamina stretching out around two turns in the Fifth Season, his first career route race. He was able to carry his speed to a BLANKET finish holding place while recording a 96 OptixFIG. There does not look to be much upside off that effort returning here in a more Contentious condition when comparing the “Snowflake” for the Fifth Season with today’s “Fire” rating – a potential downgrade to his Quad I Square in this spot.
That “Fire” rating could include #3 C Z ROCKET shifting to Quad I (Circle) on Surface/Distance as he will make the distance change stretching back out around two turns for the first time since early 2020. A pair of those route races for C Z Rocket were recorded here at Oaklawn Park posting 85 and 89 OptixFIG, numbers on the lower end of today’s OptixFIGRANGE (OFR) of 92-86. His current OptixFIG also stack up in the middle of the OFR, though the distance change is a curious move at this point in his career where the move could be seen as “experimental” at a time where C Z has struggled to get back to competitive (B OptixGRADE) ways.
#9 GUN IT also shows a change on the Plot from Standard to Surface/Distance though remains a Square in both scenarios. Gun It will make his seasonal return in this spot for Asmussen and does hold route, mile form throughout his career as well as here at Oaklawn Park. While he will be looking for his first local win, his two efforts from last season recording a 93 and 95 OptixFIG stack up on the higher side of the OFR. Class/OptixGRADE also fit this conditioning keying off those two races earning the B- OptixFIG in higher 101-95 OFR events.
“Circling” back to the #PlotPuzzle exercise, the Surface/Distance Quad II Square of #4 NECKER ISLAND, likely stood out and took notice of that position. That position sits favorably for today’s race dynamic with the higher Contention and SpeedRate. As shown in the Past 3 Runlines, Necker Island fits on speed, the OFR, with his OptixFIG highlighted. His current form and class also fit the condition lacking any “red” and showing some TROUBLE in his recent running lines to upgrade those fourth-place finishes.
The “Fire” Contention and higher 78 SpeedRate can assist the off-the-pace, Quad IV types; #1 MO MOSA sits well below as a Circle with “red” in his Past 3 Runlines with OptixFIG under today’s OFR. #6 ATTACHMENT RATE also sits with OptixFIG below today’s OFR; however, he has some upside based on the OptixNOTE Projections of PREP and STRETCH finding both as he lands here in his second start off the layoff. He has back class (OptixGRADE) and speed (OptixFIG) in Range to support that move forward while noting he still faces a tough task (longshot type) to win today. #7 MANHATTAN UP holds OptixFIG in RANGE though below on class with the B- OptixFIG recorded at this level, as far as looking to him as a top contender and more of a minor share type.