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Rick Lee's Oaklawn selections and analysis

by Rick Lee | April 17, 2021 at 8:18 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 Monomoy Girl in the 11th

BEST BET Janet's Rocket in the second

LONG SHOT Shakes Creek in the seventh


MEET 129-385 (33.5%)

••••confident choice

•••plenty to like

••things to like

•educated guess

1 Purse $27,500, 1 1/16 miles, 3-year-olds and up who have never won two races, claiming $12,500

••ITS MY BAG BABY was caught by a late-running winner in the closing strides when making his first start in 12 months. He is back at the same level and keeps winning rider David Cabrera. FAST RECOVERY showed good early speed before finishing one position behind the top selection March 31, which was his first race for trainer Robertino Diodoro. SPIN RATE has been forwardly placed and competitive in two recent races at the level, and he drew a favorable two-turn post position.


2 Its My Bag Baby;Cabrera;Garcia;7-2

7 Fast Recovery;Cohen;Diodoro;5-1

1 Spin Rate;IOrtiz;Moquett;6-1

8 Assumption;Lopez;Hartman;9-2

3 Turn the Switch;Santana;Miller;3-1

5 Speakerofthehouse;Torres;Villafranco;5-1

6 Georgia Deputy;Eramia;Petalino;8-1

4 Foxy Ace;WDe La Cruz;Smith;30-1

2 Purse $29,000, 6 furlongs, fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up, Arkansas-bred, maiden claiming $20,000

••••JANET'S ROCKET broke poorly before finishing with interest in a fifth-place debut. She has recorded encouraging subsequent works, and she is taking a significant drop in class. TALLANDLONG has finished second in all three of her races, and she is cutting back to what appears to be her preferred distance. LIFE OF SATURDAYS is dropping into a maiden claiming race for the first time, and she figures close to the lead throughout.


5 Janet's Rocket;FDe La Cruz;Cates;4-1

9 Tallandlong;Gonzalez;Ortiz;5-2

7 Life of Saturdays;Cabrera;Diodoro;7-2

10 Moonshine Princess;Arrieta;Morse;5-1

3 Morning Valentine;Vazquez;Villafranco;6-1

4 Miss Checkmark;Camacho;Martin;6-1

6 Jeri Dawn;Court;Fires;20-1

2 Merlin's Sister;Thompson;Dixon;30-1

8 Heart to Break;Tohill;Martin;30-1

1 Princess Strategy;Wales;Jackson;30-1

3 Purse $27,000, 6 furlongs, 4-year-olds and up, claiming $7,500

••COACH ADAMS is dropping to the lowest price of his career. He possesses early speed and has done his best racing at Oaklawn. CARPE VICTORIAM may not have cared for the wet footing in his local debut. He was claimed by hot connections, and he sports a strong record on a fast surface. ALL SHACKED UP has a pair of second-place finishes at the meeting, and he also has early speed and prefers a fast track.


5 Coach Adams;Arrieta;Compton;4-1

8 Carpe Victoriam;Cabrera;Broberg;3-1

9 All Shacked Up;Tohill;Hartman;6-1

3 Please the Court;Vazquez;Diodoro;5-1

7 Johnny Obvious;Thompson;Moquett;5-1

6 Riverboat Gambler;Gonzalez;Green;9-2

4 Driven to Compete;Court;Morse;15-1

1 Kid's Mischief;Cohen;McKnight;8-1

2 Ceeky;Canchari;Van Berg;30-1

4 Purse $35,000, 6 furlongs, 3-year-olds and up, maiden claiming $30,000

••GALILEE had to overcome a sluggish start when finishing second in his 2021 debut, and he received a confidence boost when the winner came back to defeat starter allowance rivals. DEE BO has not raced since November, but he fired fresh in his debut last summer at Saratoga. He is racing on Lasix for the first time. AMERICAN UNITY broke slowly and was overmatched in a seventh-place debut, and he has a license to improve significantly with an alert start.


2 Galilee;IOrtiz;Moquett;7-2

1 Dee Bo;Santana;Asmussen;2-1

7 American Unity;Bridgmohan;Amoss;3-1

5 Maverick Man;Lopez;Hollendorfer;9-2

4 Presto Bench;WDe La Cruz;Stuart;6-1

6 New Dice;Cabrera;Litfin;15-1

8 Battle Hero;Gonzalez;Chleborad;15-1

3 English Colony;Quinonez;Milligan;20-1

5 Purse $30,000, 6 furlongs, 4-year-olds and up, starter allowance

••LOOKIN FOR EIGHT is a versatile runner who possesses a powerful late run when sprinting, and he benefits from a red-hot jockey-trainer team. BEST YOU EVER SEEN has been a decisive winner of two straight races, and he has improved with every start in 2021. BITUMEN won a fast $6,250 claimer, and he is a repeat threat if able to hold form for new connections.


8 Lookin for Eight;Cabrera;Broberg;5-2

6 Best You Ever Seen;Santana;Broberg;7-2

5 Bitumen;Arrieta;Martin;5-1

2 Marquee Thunder;WDe La Cruz;Martin;8-1

1 Alex's Strike;Torres;Becker;9-2

4 White Wolf;Bowen;Holthus;15-1

7 Beemie Award;Eramia;Barkley;6-1

3 Jerrys Pridenjoy;Gonzalez;Rengstorf;6-1

6 Purse $29,000, 6 furlongs, fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up, Arkansas-bred, maiden claiming $20,000

•••ROSE MARIE B rallied to fourth in a promising career debut, and she is dropping into a softer maiden claiming race she figures difficult to hold off in the deep stretch. WICKED STREET is dropping out of maiden allowance races for the first time, and her early speed gives her a solid chance at this level. EMERALDS R US lost a late lead in a second-place finish at this level, and she has improved in each of her three races.


11 Rose Marie B;Vazquez;Peitz;3-1

6 Wicked Street;Cabrera;Morse;4-1

4 Emeralds R Us;Santana;Villafranco;9-2

10 Very Spicy;Harr;Fires;12-1

7 Hamazing Lace;Hamilton;Mason;6-1

8 Sailaway and Hide;Lopez;Rhea;6-1

3 Sweet Holiness;Court;Loy;6-1

2 Angel Arkie;Tohill;Martin;15-1

5 Marilyn's Magic;Camacho;Martin;12-1

1 Natural Jewel;Wales;Jackson;20-1

9 Skadi;WDe La Cruz;Durham;30-1

7 Purse $105,000, 6 furlongs, 4-year-olds and up, allowance optional claiming

••SHAKES CREEK crushed $6,250 two-turn claimers 15 days ago, and he raced competitively in allowance sprint and route races last season at Indiana. CAVE RUN followed a clear victory with a determined win at this level, and the consistent sprinter is the one to beat. KADRI has finished in the money in all three races at the meeting, and he may have found a field he can take wire-to-wire.


3 Shakes Creek;Gonzalez;Garcia;20-1

9 Cave Run;Cabrera;Broberg;7-2

5 Kadri;FDe La Cruz;Jones;3-1

7 Gray Attempt;IOrtiz;Ortiz;6-1

4 Codetowin;Eramia;DiVito;12-1

1 Mr. Production;Santana;Broberg;6-1

6 Impressed;Garcia;Mason;6-1

2 Vice Versa;Vazquez;Amoss;8-1

8 No Shirt No Shoes;WDe La Cruz;Anderson;5-1

10 Trashtalkinyankee;Geroux;Van Berg;10-1

8 Purse $93,000, 1 1/16 miles, 3-year-olds, maiden special weight

•••STILLETO BOY has lost a late lead in consecutive tough-luck defeats, and the talented maiden switches to a high-percentage rider. CRYO crossed the wire only 2 lengths behind the top selection, and he is lightly raced and likely to show more for top connections. RIGHT TONE was compromised by a wide trip when finishing behind the top two, but he drew an improved post and may surprise.


3 Stilleto Boy;Arrieta;Anderson;5-2

6 Cryo;Geroux;Cox;3-1

4 Right Tone;Cohen;Diodoro;7-2

5 Pa Ma's Amos;Santana;Asmussen;9-2

2 W W Crazy;Gonzalez;Becker;15-1

1 Enid;Cabrera;Morse;12-1

8 My Favorite Uncle;Vazquez;Lukas;6-1

7 James Madison;Torres;Asmussen;8-1

9 The Oaklawn Handicap. Grade II. Purse $1,000,000, 1 1/8 miles, 4-year-olds and up

••EXPRESS TRAIN easily defeated Grade II rivals in the San Pasqual at Santa Anita. He followed the effort with a narrow defeat in the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap. SILVER STATE has rallied to win the Essex and Fifth Season at the meeting. The winner of four straight is a determined runner who has enough class to move up and win a graded stake. OWENDALE ships from Fair Grounds after a tough-luck defeat in the Grade II New Orleans Handicap, and the pace figures to be fast enough to set up his consistent late run.


2 Express Train;Hernandez;Shirreffs;5-2

1 Silver State;Santana;Asmussen;4-1

6 Owendale;Geroux;Cox;7-2

3 Fearless;IOrtiz;Pletcher;7-2

7 Rated R Superstar;Vazquez;Villafranco;10-1

4 Warrior's Charge;Gonzalez;Cox;6-1

5 Guest Suite;Arrieta;Contreras;15-1

8 Silver Prospector;Cabrera;Asmussen;10-1

10 Purse $108,000, 6 furlongs, 4-year-olds and up, allowance optional claiming

••SEVEN NATION ARMY finished second in the King Cotton, and he is dropping in class after a fourth-place finish in an unusually fast race. FIRECROW led into midstretch before being run down by a pair of Grade I rivals in the Hot Springs. He is very quick and may go the distance. WELDER has won an amazing 26 races and has earned better than $1.2 million. The super-consistent Oklahoma-bred has early speed and will be in position to win.


5 Seven Nation Army;IOrtiz;Moquett;3-1

1 Firecrow;Vazquez;Moquett;6-1

4 Welder;Cabrera;Luneack;2-1

6 Engage;Santana;Asmussen;4-1

7 Full Authority;FDe La Cruz;Fires;12-1

9 Scrutinizer;WDe La Cruz;Martin;10-1

8 Hot Shot Kid;Arrieta;Robertson;10-1

3 Town Champ;Bowen;McKnight;20-1

2 Champagneonme;Gonzalez;Garcia;8-1

11 The Apple Blossom. Grade I. Purse $1,000,000, 1 1/16 miles, fillies and mares, 4-year-olds and up

••••MONOMOY GIRL has crossed the wire first in 15 of 16 races, and she has won eight consecutive Grade I races. She likely needed her last race after a freshening. SWISS SKYDIVER won the Fantasy last season at Oaklawn before winning the Grade I Alabama and defeating males in the Preakness. She started her 4-year-old campaign by winning a Grade I at Santa Anita, and she is a logical danger. LETRUSKA is another with an impressive win record, and she is the controlling speed and deserves respect.


6 Monomoy Girl;Geroux;Cox;1-1

2 Swiss Skydiver;Albarado;McPeek;2-1

3 Letruska;IOrtiz;Gutierrez;4-1

5 Getridofwhatailesu;Arrieta;Cox;6-1

1 Another Broad;Santana;Asmussen;10-1

4 Chance to Shine;Tohill;Hartman;20-1

12 Purse $30,000, 6 furlongs, fillies and mares, 4-year-olds and up, starter allowance

••PICK UP THE FONE raced competitively against better in Kentucky and New York in 2020, and she appears to be returning to top form after a game front-running victory. RAGATAGTAG dominated $7,500 rivals in her first start at the meeting, which earned the field's fastest last-race Beyer figure. FLYING BUSINESS defeated conditioned claimers as an odds-on favorite. She has consistent early speed, and she picks up a high-percentage rider.


1 Pick Up the Fone;Santana;Asmussen;3-1

4 Ragatagtag;Gonzalez;Chleborad;4-1

10 Flying Business;Garcia;Swearingen;8-1

2 Fleeta Belle;Cabrera;Vance;9-2

3 Shaharazad;Bowen;Puhl;12-1

6 J P's Gladys;WDe La Cruz;Puhl;15-1

7 Frills;Vazquez;Contreras;8-1

8 Sweet Tatum;Cohen;Diodoro;6-1

9 Skamania;Torres;Moysey;8-1

11 Flatoya;Arrieta;Matthews;12-1

5 Triple Scout;FDe La Cruz;Cox;15-1

Exotic possibilities

I like the double starting in the first race, and I'll hook up Its My Bag Baby and Fast Recovery with Janet's Rocket in the second. Shakes Creek my be a big price in the seventh, so I'll go for a big score by keying him over my six horses in a trifecta wager.


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