How to bet the Oaklawn Handicap
A massive field of 14 will travel 1 1/8 miles at Oaklawn Park on Saturday in the lucrative $600,000 Oaklawn H. (G2). The sensational cast features 10 graded stakes winners in what is among the most competitive races on a star-studded 14-race card in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
Oaklawn Handicap Analysis
#4 Mr Freeze is the speed of the field for Dale Romans. #2 Trophy Chaser and #6 Warrior’s Charge are the contenders that will be closest to the pacesetter early on, with #14 Improbable tracking that trio from the far outside. I expect the pace to be reasonable for an event at this level.
Oaklawn Handicap Contenders
#1 CHESS CHIEF -- Talented son of Into Mischief has consistency in his corner for Dallas Stewart. 4-year-old colt has a big turn of foot combined with a rail post to save ground throughout, and he has a top-three chance at a square price.
#2 TROPHY CHASER-- Dark bay colt has been impressive since stretching out in his last two engagements. Kentucky-bred was game in victory in the Challenger (G3), and he could sit a fine trip just off the early tempo on Saturday. Samy Camacho has the call.
#3 BRAVAZO -- $2 million earner has yet to regain his sophomore form and is winless since 2018. Lukas trainee has failed to hit the board in three outings at the meeting, and he would be a surprise.
#4 MR FREEZE -- Fleet Romans charge has never been better entering this difficult assignment. Chestnut has won or placed in five consecutive graded tilts, and his early speed will be on display on Saturday. Win contender will have Joe Talamo in the stirrups.
#5 IDENTIFIER -- Hal’s Hope (G3) upsetter is 2-for-2 in 2020 and deserves a chance with this kind while in great form. Creative Cause 4-year-old could make the frame with a lifetime-best effort beneath Elliot.
#6 WARRIOR’S CHARGE -- Very good Munnings colt impressed with a game score in the Razorback (G3) in his seasonal bow for Brad Cox. Florida-bred has a lot of room for improvement in his second off the bench as well. Florent Geroux will pilot the win candidate.
#7 COMBATANT -- Sadler trainee was victorious in the Santa Anita H. (G1) last time out, but he faces arguably a sterner test on this occasion. Late runner has upped his game since adding blinkers two back, and he could be moving best of all late under Rosario.
#8 SKY PROMISE-- Multiple stakes winner comes off a game score with stakes company on the surface going 1 1/2 miles. Sky Mesa 5-year-old will need a move forward to challenge for the win against this cast, however.
#9 TACITUS -- Two-time Grade 2 star makes his first appearance following a solid fifth in the inaugural Saudi Cup for Bill Mott. Tapit colt has never run a bad race and could surely be in the mix late with John Velazquez in the controls.
#10 CAPTIVATING MOON-- One-run closer rallied to be second in the New Orleans Classic (G2) most recently for Block. Hard-trying son of Malibu Moon will be hoping for a pace collapse to aid his late burst.
#11 TAX-- Jim Dandy (G2) victor didn’t fire in the Pegasus World Cup (G1), but he has trained well leading up to this test. Gelded son of Arch does some of his best work off the shelf, and the dark bay wouldn’t be a shocker with Carmouche in the silks.
#12 BY MY STANDARDS-- Calhoun pupil has been sterling from a pair of dominant tallies to commence his 4-year-old season. Goldencents colt is training in rapid fashion and seems poised for another big performance on Saturday. Gabe Saez will be in the irons.
#13 NIGHT OPS-- Essex H. hero dons a 5-3-1-1 local line in advance of his second graded try. Warrior’s Reward colt drew a tough post, but he did well to entice Javier Castellano to ride.
#14 IMPROBABLE -- Baffert trainee exits a sharp runner-up performance from the widest post in the recent Oaklawn Mile. Grade-1 winning son of City Zip has run big in each of his trio of local outings to date, but he will have to be at his best after drawing widest of all once again.
- $2 Exacta Box 2,4,6,14 ($24)
- $1 Trifecta Box 2,4,6,14 ($24)