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Rick Lee's Oaklawn picks and analysis

by Rick Lee | April 16, 2021 at 2:27 a.m.
FILE — Horses and jockeys break from the starting gate at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Hot Springs. (Democrat-Gazette file photo)

LEE'S LOCK Heated Argument in the ninth

BEST BET Molto Vivace in the eighth

LONG SHOT Calculated Risker in the sixth


MEET 126-376 (33.5%)

••••confident choice

•••plenty to like

••things to like

•educated guess

1 Purse $40,000, 6 furlongs, 3-year-olds and up, starter allowance

••SACRED OATH broke his maiden last season at Oaklawn, and he defeated $50k conditioned claimers in a fast clocking two months later at Churchill. He needed his last race and should be rallying behind a contested pace. SHIP IT RED dueled through quick fractions in a strong runner-up finish March 21, and he is making his third start after a long layoff. SUBSTANTIAL encountered trouble down the backstretch in a deceptive race against similar.


6 Sacred Oath;Cohen;McKnight;7-2

4 Ship It Red;Bowen;Lund;9-2

2 Substantial;Torres;Moysey;9-2

1 Deflater;Harr;Cline;3-1

3 Rock Ridge;Gonzalez;Chleborad;9-2

5 Hansens Mischief;Vazquez;Dixon;6-1

2 Purse $48,000, 1 1/16 miles, 3-year-olds and up, maiden claiming $50,000

••AIR SHOW has been forwardly placed in two encouraging sprint races, he is dropping in class and may lead this field past every pole. KID SHELLEEN finished a clear second in his return from a long break, and he is also dropping into the maiden-claiming ranks. CHROME FINISH was beaten a neck in a maiden allowance route at Houston, and he returns to the main track after a competitive try on turf.


5 Air Show;Cohen;Diodoro;4-1

8 Kid Shelleen;Arrieta;Contreras;5-2

4 Chrome Finish;Santana;Asmussen;5-1

7 Hanks;WDe La Cruz;Martin;7-2

2 Chrome Run;Quinonez;Milligan;8-1

1 Ram;Vazquez;Lukas;6-1

3 Twirling Roses;Rocco;Robertson;10-1

6 Baker's Man;Canchari;Lauer;12-1

3 Purse $27,500, 5 1/2 furlongs, 3-year-olds and up which have never won two races, claiming $12,500

••GREATER CAIRO rallied to third in his return from nine months on the bench, and he is taking a drop in class and likely wins if ready to run one of his better races. IN THE ARCH was compromised by a wide trip in fourth-place finish at Fair Grounds, and the consistent sprinter picks up a top local rider. THE BIG BLUFF is a good finisher in a field with plenty of early speed, and he was a clear maiden winner last season at Oaklawn.


1 Greater Cairo;Cabrera;Moquett;4-1

8 In the Arch;Vazquez;Richard;6-1

4 The Big Bluff;Arrieta;Hobby;9-2

7 Hug the Munny;Santana;Ortiz;5-1

6 Limbo's Promise;FDe La Cruz;Anderson;8-1

5 Time Heist;Hebert;Westermann;6-1

9 I'm a Special Star;Talamo;Deville;3-1

2 Wyoming Conquest;Harr;Rosin;12-1

3 Funandfunny;Torres;Loy;15-1

4 Purse $48,000, 1 1/16 miles, 4-year-olds and up, claiming $37,500

••INTREPID HEART has won consecutive and fast $20,000 claiming races, and he is a three-peat threat if able to hold form for new connections. CASHANOVA rallied from far back when third best in a starter allowance, and the two-time local winner will appreciate a wet track. SECRET HOUSE is the probable pacesetter and the earner of better than $250k has the class.


3 Intrepid Heart;Quinonez;Martin;5-2

7 Cashanova;Arrieta;Martin;3-1

5 Secret House;Hebert;Broberg;10-1

1 Vangilder;Santana;Asmussen;5-1

6 Catdaddy;Eramia;Petalino;9-2

2 Shortlist;Cabrera;Van Berg;7-2

4 Ruler of the Nile;Torres;Sharp;12-1

5 Purse $29,000, 5 1/2 furlongs, 3-year-olds and up, Arkansas-bred, maiden claiming $20,000

•••IMA BLING CAT has raced close to the lead in two third-place finishes at the meeting, and he is dropping to the lowest level of his career. LUCKY BREAK had to navigate through traffic on the backstretch in an encouraging third-place debut, and he has a license to improve with the experience and with a clean trip. PAPA STAR has finished second in consecutive races at this level, and he is switching to leading rider Ricardo Santana Jr.


7 Ima Bling Cat;Cabrera;Villafranco;2-1

3 Lucky Break;Quinonez;Milligan;9-2

10 Papa Star;Santana;Stuart;7-2

1 My Little Tipsy;Morales;Rhea;8-1

11 Macho Rocket Man;WDe La Cruz;Martin;6-1

9 Cyber Monday;Gonzalez;Green;10-1

8 Twisted Dixie;Harr;Cline;6-1

6 Driver;Camacho;Martin;30-1

2 Double Bogey;Canchari;Witt;30-1

4 Rock City Rocket;Eramia;Martin;30-1

5 Ducktail;Lopez;Stuart;30-1

6 Purse $27,000, 1 1/16 miles, 4-year-olds and up, claliming $7,500

••CALCULATED RISKER was a three-lengths winner only two races back, and he is back at a proper level after being overmatched April 2. He also moves up on a wet track. TAKE CHARGE D'ORO is dropping to the lowest claiming price of his career, and a return to the form he showed last fall at Churchill will make him a big threat. ACOSTA has done his best running under the care of trainer Ron Moquett, and he has route speed and wet track ability.


4 Calculated Risker;Talamo;Litfin;8-1

7 Take Charge d'Oro;Gonzalez;Barkley;9-2

10 Acosta;Cabrera;Moquett;3-1

2 Hyndford;Vazquez;Garcia;4-1

3 Little No Way;Torres;Villafranco;6-1

6 Giant Influence;Cohen;Diodoro;6-1

8 Whole Lotta Luck;Camacho;Vance;10-1

9 Never Even Called;Arrieta;McKnight;10-1

1 Hotfoot;WDe La Cruz;Litfin;15-1

5 Always a Catch;Eramia;Martin;15-1

7 The Rainbow. Purse $150,000, 6 furlongs, 3-year-olds, Arkansas-bred

•••BLAME J D showed good speed in a clear maiden victory, and he had a useful fourth-place tuneup competing against talented older rivals. ROLLING FORK crushed maiden claimers by seven widening lengths, and the steadily improving gelding keeps the leading rider. GOODNIGHT ARCHIE showed speed and determination in a maiden win, and he may benefit from a positive rider change.


8 Blame J D;Vazquez;Green;5-2

6 Rolling Fork;Santana;Ortiz;6-1

1 Goodnight Archie;Gonzalez;Soto;4-1

4 Mrs. Beans;Cabrera;Garcia;8-1

3 Navy Seal;Borel;Swearingen;7-2

9 Aspen Club;Torres;Morse;8-1

5 Topf Road Rules;Talamo;Peitz;10-1

7 Ghost Strategy;Canchari;Chleborad;15-1

2 Dusty Hill;Thompson;Dixon;8-1

8 Purse $105,000, 6 furlongs, 3-year-olds, allowance optional claiming

•••MOLTO VIVACE followed a wet track maiden victory with a late-running third-place finish at this condition, and he drew a favorable post. SAFFA'S DAY crossed the wire a length in front of the top selection when breaking better than his stablemate, but his only race over a wet surface was his poorest effort. PLETCHER broke his maiden at first asking last fall at Remington, and he has recorded upbeat breezes up to his 2021 unveiling.


7 Molto Vivace;Cabrera;Asmussen;3-1

3 Saffa's Day;Santana;Asmussen;9-5

2 Pletcher;Talamo;Morse;5-1

4 Oncoming Train;FDe La Cruz;DiVito;7-2

5 Cold as Hell;Arrieta;Lukas;8-1

6 Lookin At Justice;Morales;Garcia;8-1

1 Lawlessness;Garcia;Mason;8-1

9 The Rainbow Miss. Purse $150,000, 6 Furlongs, fillies, 3-year-olds, Arkansas-bred

••••HEATED ARGUMENT splashed her way to a decisive career debut victory, and she raced close to a rapid pace when beaten only two lengths in a good tuneup against older fillies and mares. KABOOM BABY finished a non-threatening second behind the top selection in her first race, and she followed the performance with a gutty maiden victory. DOLLY DIMPLE was clearly best as a winning odds-on favorite in her stalk-and-pounce maiden win, and she is improving and hails from a powerful stable.


3 Heated Argument;Arrieta;Gonzalez;6-1

11 Kaboom Baby;Quinonez;Witt;4-1

7 Dolly Dimple;FDe La Cruz;Cox;9-2

4 Hillary G;Cabrera;Vance;7-2

8 Big On Broadway;Santana;Moquett;3-1

2 Tyler's Tyronza;Talamo;Peitz;10-1

5 Lady Astrid;Harr;Cline;15-1

1 Smarty's Angel;Canchari;Cates;12-1

6 Little Burrito;Torres;Moysey;15-1

9 Hot Springs Bling;Bridgmohan;Amoss;20-1

10 Triple Happy;Garcia;Broberg;20-1

10 Purse $28,500, 1 mile, 3-year-olds and up which have never won two races, Arkansas-bred, claiming $16,000

•••JAMES'S MOONSHINE was a clear two-turn maiden winner, which easily earned the field's fastest Beyer figure, and he was scratched out of a sprint Thursday in favor of this race. GOOSE ALMIGHTY narrowly defeated the top selection sprinting, and he is stretching out following three sprint races. DEMIGOD has shown enough ability in sprint races to be a contender, and he is wearing blinkers for the first time after showing poor demeanor at the gate.


5 James's Moonshine;Tohill;Hartman;2-1

8 Goose Almighty;WDe La Cruz;Martin;4-1

2 Demigod;Gonzalez;McBride;12-1

10 Rockthepulpit;Camacho;Rengstorf;10-1

6 Egomaniac;Garcia;Mason;15-1

9 Fire Two Point O;Wales;Westermann;5-1

1 Trophy Daddy;Morales;Antwine;5-1

7 Hamazing Wisdom;Quinonez;Pish;6-1

4 It's Bellamy Time;Lopez;Rhea;20-1

3 Listen to Rose;Hamilton;Hornsby;15-1

Exotic possibilities

Calculated Risker loves a wet track and I'll recommend playing him over my next three selections in sixth-race exacta wagers. The seventh race starts a Pick-4 and I'll go three deep. The eighth race is strictly a two-horse race between the Asmussen trainees. The ninth has a single in my opinion in Heated Argument. I like my top two selections in the 10th.


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