I’ve just become aware of the entries in the Fantasy Stakes and Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park. These races conclude the 2017-2018 Enlightened Trails series.
We’ll start with the Friday race, the $400k Fantasy Stakes, an 8.5 furlong race. Top 3 choices here are Wonder Gadot, Sassy Sienna and longshot overlay Tahoe Dream.
Sassy Sienna, for the real Trail, she does need the points. In the EOT, she has 0 points. Aside from her maiden debut, she won an optional claiming race of 62.5k on 1/15 to start her 3YO campaign, posting 85 Brisnet. Then a small new top of 88, nearly wiring the Martha Washington field here on 2/10, sloppy track and all. It’s the best off-track performance of today’s field. There are thunderstorms forecast for Friday. 3rd in the Grade 3 Honeybee Stakes at today’s distance last time out. 3 works here, each very fast.
Tahoe Dream also needs points. Won her 4th maiden races vs fillies, then won a 75k claimer here on 3/29, 84 Brisnet, just shy of her lifetime best. Mid 80s scores in last 3 races, all at OP. Only filly stretching out in distance here, as the others have already run 8.5 furlongs.
EOT impact: This race concludes the Trails proper. For the Heartland division, I can concluded that the 2nd place finisher of this race would lose the tiebreaker vs Eskimo Kisses. That theory does hold water. So, only the winner of the Fantasy Stakes gets into my mythical Oaks. Monomoy Girl and Eskimo Kisses are now in, and Patrona Margarita is out.
Odds impact: No change from the ML rankings. If anything, Wonder Gadot is projected to take a ton of money. Princess Warrior will actually take less money than expected. I don’t like her enough to be a contender, but I have to respect the fact that she’s the lone deep closer of the field.
I decided to cover the Grade 3 Lexington Stakes also, which impacts the real Trail, but not mine. This race is for 3YOs, $200k purse, 8.5 furlongs. Top 3 here are overlay Greyvitos, then favored My Boy Jack, then longshot overlay Arched Feather.
Greyvitos broke maiden by winning his 3rd start, which happened to be the Grade 3 Bob Hope at Del Mar, scoring a huge 98 Brisnet score. Then won the Springboard Mile at Remington Park on 12/17 with a 93. No racing since then, but he’s worked consistently in California. Was 2nd of 39 in such a work on 4/7 at Santa Anita, 1:00:1 from the gate. Only horse here who has won stretching out in distance while currently doing so. I think he could be the favorite; 6-1 is high.
Arched Feather won his 3rd maiden race running a lifetime best 79 Brisnet. Duplicated that speed running 5th in the Smarty Jones. Dropped to 71 last time out in the Battaglia Memorial, first time on the all-weather surface. Best AWD numbers (Arch/Featherbed, out of Smart Strike). 74 speed here at Keeneland is best of this field.
Odds impact: Watch for Pony Up to get bet down from 6/1 to possibly 2nd favorite. Coming out of a 2nd place finish in the JR Steaks and a 99 Brisnet score, plus fully circling back to his best work since last fall’s layoff, he must be considered. Two others that should take more $, tho not enough for an overlay are Battle at Sea and Honor Up. Battle at Sea achieved new tops last 2 races in his maiden winner and the Central City Derby, both at Fair Grounds and his debut route races. Outside of his maiden debut, this Louisiana-bred has run mainly vs statebred horses. Honor Up ships in from the NY tracks. He has only run vs statebred maidens, winning in his most recent race with an 87. Peak was 89, acheived the race before. Lowest speed figure was his debut, an 81. Off since early December, he’s worked frequently, with a bullet on 3/27.
Finally we reach the Arkansas Derby, the final race of the Enlightened Derby Trail. 2 horses already have points in the division: Dream Baby Dream with 500, and Combatant with 100. Quip is in this race too, with 1000 from the South division. I don’t allow horses to represent 2 divisions at once. If he wins, I will likely let him represent from the Heartland, and bring in the first-out horse, Flameaway. Flameaway lost for the last spot in the South to Hofburg because Hofburg was in a Grade 1 race. Flameaway has only gotten to Grade 2. The other scenario would be to let Quip represent the South, and have the 2nd place finisher be in the EDT as well. Flameaway will not represent the Heartland with just 500 points. The big issue is the class. This race is Grade 1, $1 million. Winner gets into the EDT. My top 4 would all have 1000 points. Dream Baby Dream would be out if he finishes 2nd. I’d rather see the winner of a lower class race advance rather than a 2nd place horse.
For my Future Wager bets, I am rooting for Solomini as I have him at 19-1 and 25-1
With that typed, here’s how I see this race: Top 3 are Solomini, Quip and Dream Baby Dream. No overlays in this race.
Dream Baby Dream is dangerous as a longshot. Never mind that he has 3 3rd place finishes here with scores in the 80s. He did acheive a small new top last out, finishing 2nd to Runaway Ghost in the 9 furlong Sunland Derby. That score is best of this field. I very much like his recent form via pace.
Odds movers: Dream Baby Dream and Magnum Moon to take more $ than usual. Tenfold and Combatant, in the middle rank of the morning line, are going to take less $.