Making money with Flagstaff in the King Cotton Stakes
A compact field of six sprinters will go postward in the $150,000 King Cotton S. at Oaklawn Park on Saturday. The six-furlong feature is led by Grade 2 winner #3 Flagstaff (8-5), who ran a huge second following a poor break in the Count Fleet H. (G3) on the course last season. Speightstown gelding carried fine form through 2020, and the seven-year-old has trained well in preparation of his 2021 bow, as well. In addition to his class, Flagstaff appears to have the right running style for the dash, and while the price will not be big, he rates as my clear top selection. Florent Geroux riding only adds to the appeal of the Kentucky-bred.
I like a pair of horses to finish underneath the favorite, led by recent allowance winner #4 Mucho (8-1). Blame five-year-old was a prominent juvenile but has failed to develop into a top-level performer to this point of his development. The bay Kentucky-bred was claimed in November and made his first start for John Ortiz here on January 22 in a deep allowance field.
Mucho commenced his run approaching the turn for home and wore down a clear leader en route to a fine victory in his local debut. He equaled his best-ever Brisnet Speed figure with a 98 in that tally, and I love the quick return with just two weeks between races. Joe Talamo inherits the ride, and he looks like the value of the field to me. Mucho will be making one run in the stretch in the King Cotton.
#1 Strike Power (3-1) often shows brilliant gate speed and gets a perfect post slot on the fence to utilize his ample early pace. The six-year-old son of Speightstown has raced just once since 2019, but he shows five solid morning drills on the Oaklawn strip in advance of his second try for conditioner Steve Asmussen. Chestnut will lead the field to the top of the lane, and he could get brave if left alone for too long beneath Santana.
King Cotton Wagers
- $30 Exacta: 3 with 4 ($30)
- $10 Exacta: 3 with 1 ($10)
- $5 Trifecta Key: 3 with 1,4 ($10)