In the Derby divisions, top 4 by points gets that horse in. In the Oaks Trail, it’s top 3 of the major divisions, top 2 in the minor.
To break ties within the division, I give the nod to the horse with the best class win (Grade 1 over the other grades, then ungraded, then all else). 2nd tiebreak is distance (longer is better), 3rd is purse money won, 4th might be surface (dirt over turf).
Should a horse make my list and then be removed from the Trail, as is the cast of Take Charge Brandi, I’ll simply take the next horse who leads in points with the above tiebreaks, regardless of divison. Tiger Ride, 4th in the Florida Oaks and with 125 points, has the most of any filly who is not in my top 14, so she gets into the show.
Starting with PH, who present 4 races, we have the 10th at Gulfstream, 9 furlongs on the turf course for 4YO+, non winners of 2, or claiming price of 35k, or races other than maiden/claiming/starter.
9 BIG BAZINGA
Heyaarat broke maiden in his 4th start at 75k, winning over Belmont’s turf course, going 10 furlongs last July. He was favored among 9 others in that race. Since then he’s worked fairly well. Brisnet speed ratings paired up with 86 and 90 in last 2 races. He enters today’s race with the cleanest trip of the 13-horse field, and may prove to be an overlay here. Big Bazinga we also last saw in 2014. 2nd in the Grey Stakes up in Woodbine, 2nd in an optional claimer her in 2014, and won his debut as maiden prior to that. Was reclaimed by Katerina Vassilleva following his Grey outing in 2013 only running better efforts in that OC race plus the Spiral Stakes. With a near year-long layoff, this gelding posted several strong workouts including a bullet. Considering he won his debut race, the nearly 12-month layoff should not bother him much. Yari has the best track speed rating among winners here, a 98, scored 2 races ago in January, in a 50k claimer. That score is also best among those for today’s distance. It further represents a small new top, improving on his 2014 best of 94. Middle post helps his cause. I see him bouncing back in pace here.
Looks like a strong value race overall.
Next is the 11th at Gulfstream, the ungraded Silks Run Stakes, also on the GP turf course, a 5 furlong effort for 4YO+. Only 3 horses really stand out in this field for me:
5 GOLDEN RIFLE
7 STORMY RUSH
2 BOLD THUNDER
Golden Rifle has best average winning distance numbers from his pedigree (Ghostzapper/Sierra Vista, out of the UK bred Atraf). Ran in December after 10 weeks on the bench with an 83 Brisnet in an 5 furlong race. He was claimed by Chad Brown, then followed up with an 81 in January while stretching to a route and going up in class. He disappointed last time out with a 9th place finish in the GP Turf Handicap last month, tho he came away with his lifetime best speed rating of 96. Forging the small new top gives me reason to select him as best here. Stormy Rush last raced at Saratoga, and returns with good connections here: Luis Saez has 17% win rate during the meet, and trainer Lorne Richard has 3 wins in 8 races. With 3 2nd call numbers in triple digits, he is measured as the speed of the field. Seems to run best from middle post. Posted a 93 last time out, above his prior race with an 85, so a possible bounce risk here. Bold Thunder scored a 105 in his win in the Turf Dash at Tampa Bay 2 races back in January. This is the best score on turf of this field as well as for today’s distance. He would bounce to a 95 in the GP Turf Sprint. I foresee a bounceback for him here.
Now to Santa Anita for the Grade 1 Santa Margarita, a 9 furlong race for fillies/mares 4YO+.
3 DAME DOROTHY
Final 2 are at Oaklawn Park:
The Razorback Handicap is for 4YO+ going 8.5 furlongs in this Grade 3 event, 250k purse.
6 PAID ADMISSION
1 THE TRUTH OR ELSE
American Pharaoh is much the best here. From my EDT series, he has top points among those not in the show. 2 wins in 3 races, both at the Grade 1 level. Since his win in the Front Runner at Santa Anita in December, he’s worked very well there, including 2 bullets. Already a winner at 8.5 furlongs. 99 Brisnet score in the Front Runner, best of this field. Being the lone sprinter makes him a tough one to go against.