With the results of the penultimate Enlightened Trails races already in, there is still the two left at Oaklawn Park this weekend that will put the cap on the bottle.
I resolved both sets of divisions. Here’s the Oaks side first:
Minors: McKenzie Honey was already a winner. Tap It All, winner of the California Oaks, would normally be in, had there not been a Japanese entry. For the lone Japanese entry, I gave the spot to Reine Minoru, who won the top filly race there, the Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas). Also won the Kokura Nisai at age 2, and placed in 3 other stakes races at 2. Now 7-3-2-1 lifetime.
Northeast: Miss Sky Warrior and Lockdown, 1-2 in Saturday’s Gazelle, are in the show, plus the Frizette winner, Yellow Agate (just 250 points).
Cali: Paradise Woods and Abel Tasman finished 1-2 in the Santa Anita Oaks. They are in my mythical Oaks, along with Del Mar Debutante winner Union Strike (just 250 points). Union Strike wins tiebreak over It Tiz Well, who was 3rd in the Santa Anita Oaks.
South: With one race to go, Farrell is in for her win in the Fair Grounds Oaks. To this I add the winner of the Florida Oaks, Fifty Five.Also, Salty, winner of the Gulfstream Park Oaks.
Heartland: Purely A Dream, winner of the Bourbonette, and Sailor’s Valentine, winner of the Ashland, are in my Oaks race. I added Daddys Lil Darling, who finished 2nd in both races.
No real drama in this one, except that the Fantasy Stakes remains for those who can potentially knock off those in the South with points. Looking at the nominations, none of my 3 with top points are listed. Next on the list with some points is Vexatious, 250 points for her 3rd spot in the FG Oaks. If she won out, she’d be in my mythical Oaks. How then to resolve between my other 3?
The first tie-breaker is Graded rating. Farrell and Salty both won at Grade 2, ahead of Fifty Five’s Grade 3 win. After that, the next tie-breaker is purse. Farrell’s race was 400k, while Salty’s was 250k. The Fantasy is Grade 3 at 400k, so a new shooter with 0 points that wins out can get into my mythical Oaks. Obviously, any horse with points will have advantage.
Biggest snubs currently are the fillies with 500 points: Jenda’s Agenda, Ghalia, Tap It All, La Coronel, Wicked Lick, Tequilita, and Awesome Boss. I am thinking that the 2nd place finisher in the Fantasy Stakes might have to join this list. Between all these fillies, Lockdown has the tiebreak edge over Tequilita for qualifying.
Comparing to the actual Oaks trail, how are my Future Wager picks holding up?
Daddy’s Lil Darling: 28-1
Abel Tasman 23-1
These fillies are definitely in the show, currently ranked as 1st, 6th and 7th in actual Oaks points.
I used Daddy’s Lil Darling, Unique Bella and Abel Tasman in exactas to each other, and over/under the field. Since Unique Bella is out, it takes away some possibilities, but a Daddy’s/Abel exacta hit would be amazing, and rather realistic in scoring. Field horses from the future wager right now would be these: Sailors Valentine, Paradise Woods, Salty, Nomorerichblondes, Yorkiepoo Princess, Purely A Dream, Wicked Lick, Jordan’s Henny, Benner Island, Someday Soon, Vexatious, Tapped, Summer Luck, then all horses 10 points and under in the Oaks trail. Of those that are nominated in the Fantasy, these include Elate, Spooky Woods, Nonna Bella, Ever So Clever, Tapa Tapa Tapa, My Sweet Stella, Gris Gris, Torrent, and Princess Karen.
Now to the Derby side, where the divisions look this way:
Northeast: Irish War Cry, Wood Memorial winner, is in, with Practical Joke (Hopeful, Champagne), then Good Samaritan (Summer).
Cali: Gormley, winner of the Santa Anita Derby, is in, then Zakaroff (El Camino Real Derby), followed by Battle Of Midway (2nd in the SA Derby), and More Power To Him (2nd in the El Camino Real)
Heartland: Irap won the Blue Grass Stakes to win this division as well. Fast And Accurate is 2nd for his win in the Spiral. Then I have McCraken who won the KY Jockey Club, then Practical Joke for his 2nd place finish in the Blue Grass. Since I can’t have the same horse rep 2 divisions, I kept him in the Northeast, because to eliminate him from there would bring up a much worse horse than if I were to eliminate him from the Heartland.
Next in the Northeast pecking order would be Good Samaritan, at 250 points and a Grade 1 win. For the Heartland, the next horse would be Blueridge Traveler, 500 points, 2nd in the Spiral. I decided to go with the horse with more points.
South: With the AR Derby still left, here’s what I have: Tapwrit, Hence, Always Dreaming and Girvin, winners of the Tampa Bay Derby, Sunland Derby, Florida Derby and Louisiana Derby, all get in with equal 1000 point totals. Always Dreaming wins the tiebreak, if there were one, because his was a Grade 1 win. The AR Derby winner will be in a flat tie with Always Dreaming because of the same grade, purse and distance. Then it’s a matter of who has points after the big race and who to eliminate.
Minors: Reportedly, none of the Japan entrants for the Derby Trail will want to be part of the show. That’s rather sad, as they do have a good Trail set up there.It’s comparable to other countries, and especially to UAE, who have just the UAE Derby to represent. So I’d go back to having top 4 horses out of this division. The horses for me are Howdy Kingkowboy (Turf Paradise Derby winner), Taco (Texas Heritage Stakes), Twisted Tom (Private Terms Stakes), and O Dionysus (2nd in the Private Terms)
Snubs: Conquest Mo Money, Gunnevara, Patch, all in the highly competitive South division, all with 500.
Future Wager bets took a hit with Mo Town failing to score in the Wood Memorial. Here are the remaining bets still active:
Lookin At Lee 37-1 (needs AR Derby points)
Classic Empire 6-1 (ditto)
Exactas of McCraken over/under field selections
Sire Future Wager:
Bernardini: Takaful nominated to AR Derby, has 2 points, so needs to win out.
Into Mischief, Practical Joke is in the show, a 24-1 opportunity.
Uncle Mo: Royal Mo 10 points, also nominiated, needs 1st or 2nd in the race)
Win bet on Gunnevara, 24-1 play.
Exacta on McCraken and over/under field.
Irish Way Cry at 7-1
Gormley at 18-1
Exactas between Classic Empire (32 points, needs a top 3 finish), and McCraken, and both over/under field.
Thunder Snow 23-1
Exactas between Classic Empire/Thunder, plus these over/under field.