Hanson: Streamline the key in Saturday's Oaklawn Late Pick 4

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

January 14th, 2017

After a nine-month break from Oaklawn, there were definitely signs of rust in my handicapping and betting on Friday's opener.

My Pick 3 tanked off the bat when Athena, who had plenty of back class and a potentially favorable pace scenario, showed that her recent ho-hum form, which convinced me to not use her, was not entirely representative when she rallied to win by a neck at 3-1.

Owner Danny Caldwell and trainer Federico Villafranco got off to a fast start at the meet winning the next two races, but P C Cowboy ($35.60) in the seventh was a little hard to come up with going up in class from maiden selling to maiden special weight off the claim. Suffice it to say Oaklawn followers will think twice should that angle present itself again.

Domain's Rap ($19.60) was one of four I used in the $125,000 Fifth Season and in retrospect was the value play of the quartet in the win pool. Alas, I leaned elsewhere.

I didn't lose much on that Pick 3 play and will tackle the late Pick 4 on Saturday's card with a little more coverage. Here's the ticket:

Race 6: A difficult N2L allowance to decipher so going deep. Choir Director (#4, 6-1) might not want to go this far, but has early lick and has a short stretch to work with this in one-mile heat. Gray Sky (#5, 2-1) is a must-use given he was running in the Rebel (G2) and Arkansas Derby (G1) at this meet a year ago. This is perhaps the easiest field he's ever faced. Dan the Go to Man (#6, 9-2) has never been this far, but figures to be prominently placed and could get first run at the leader around the turn. Comic Bird (#7, 6-1) fared well enough against similar at Delaware Park last summer to warrant inclusion.

Race 7: Sandora (#1, 8-1), unraced since May, has placed in two of her three starts dating back to her debut over this track 10 months ago. Upbeat works. Choppychoppychoppy (#5, 4-1) was second on debut at Churchill in mid-November and has room for improvement while adding Lasix. Her Love for Pappy (#7, 7-2) was up the track in a key maiden in her debut, then returned from a six-month break, flashed speed and held for second, also at Keeneland. Another long layoff and barn switch raises flags, but she fits. Street Biz (#10, 15-1) is making a belated debut at age four. Trainer/jockey combo known to surprise from time to time, and this ticket needs a kicker.

Race 8: Taking a stand in the $125,000 Pippin with the favored Streamline (#1, 8-5), who this race a year ago and ran extremely well in the Azeri (G2) and Apple Blossom H. (G1) later in the meet. Should be sitting on a big race following a sprint prep and a runner-up placing in the Falls City H. (G2).

Race 9: Another tough maiden which seemingly requires plenty of coverage. Vandelay (#1, 7-2) was a respectable fifth in his debut behind a future stakes winner and should improve. First-timer Grandpa's Dream (#3, 9-2) has an interesting pedigree. His dam is a half to the talented Speightser and descends from the blue hen Canadian broodmare Classy 'n Smart. Seven Forty Seven (#4, 15-1) was bet heavily in his debut at Saratoga, but endured a poor start there and and his Arlington follow-up. Eased in the slop at Keeneland last out, but think there might still be talent lurking in him somewhere. Smokin Now (#6, 12-1) flashed speed and faded in his Prairie Meadows debut last July. Monstrous jockey/trainer combo often wins at a clip above 40 percent. My Man Kan (#8, 6-1) narrowly missed in his debut, then threw in a clunker in a key Churchill maiden second out. Capable of better.

Here's the 50-cent ticket: 4,5,6,7 with 1,5,7,10 with 1 with 1,3,4,6,8 = $40.

Good luck!

(Coady Photography)