Scully: Friday spot plays at Oaklawn Park

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January 28th, 2022

A Kentucky Derby qualifier, the $750,000 Southwest S. (G3), highlights a strong 11-race card that includes two stakes at Oaklawn Park on Saturday, but Friday’s program serves as a nice appetizer for horseplayers.

The main event, a stakes-caliber allowance/optional claimer carded as Race 8, came up interesting. Eleven of the 12 runners in the 1 1/16-mile event have stakes experience.

Here are a few horses of interest on Friday.

Race 3 (2:26 p.m. ET)

#3 Tapalong appeared to be facing a tough group for the level last time – the top two finishers were both claimed at short odds – and ran well to finish a close third following a four-month layoff. The six-year-old mare drew well inside and should be prominent from the start in a field lacking speed. She looks well-spotted for Travis Manley and Ramon Vazquez.

Race 7 (4:19 p.m. ET)

#5 Oiler will take some beating on the drop to maiden claiming ranks for Steve Asmussen. Two starts back at Churchill Downs he ran well to finish fourth to Call Me Midnight, who captured the Lecomte S. (G3) at Fair Grounds two starts later. Last time at Oaklawn, Oiler experienced a tough trip from an inside post and weakened to sixth behind Dash Attack, who came right back to win the Smarty Jones S. at Oaklawn.

A couple of these rivals – Cole Spur and Winterwood – will take action, but Oiler is the horse to beat in my estimation. Look for a forward trip with Ricardo Santana.

Race 8 (4:46 p.m. ET)

Warrior’s Charge has shown an affinity for Oaklawn Park, winning the Razorback H. (G3) and finishing second in the Oaklawn H. (G2) in 2020, and he finished second in the Stephen Foster S. (G2) at Churchill Downs last summer. The 5-2 morning line favorite appears to be training forwardly for Brad Cox, but Warrior’s Charge has lost 12 straight and must work out a trip from post 11.

#7 Trident Hit won 3-of-9 starts in 2021, including a convincing Oaklawn tally, but earned a freshening after coming up short as the odds-on choice in a Remington stakes in September. Trainer Ron Moquett appeared to be a using a Jan. 9 allowance at 1 3/16 miles as a sharpener and Trident Hill didn’t run poorly, finishing third behind a moderate pace. The five-year-old now cuts back to his favorite distance of 1 1/16 miles (7-2-2-1) and should receive the perfect setup for his late kick.

He’s listed at an appealing 12-1.