Value Play for the 2022 Fair Grounds Oaks
A compact, but talented, field of six three-year-old fillies will go postward in the $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) on Saturday. The 2022 Road to the Kentucky Oaks contest will reward the top-four finishers with points on a 100-40-20-10 basis.
The main attraction in the affair is champion #1 Echo Zulu (3-5), who will make her much anticipated 2022 debut for conditioner Steve Asmussen. By superb young sire Gun Runner, the sterling filly went four-for-four during her splendid juvenile campaign which included tallies in the Spinaway S. (G1), Frizette S. (G1), and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1). She was not headed in her final trio of assignments, dominating by a combined 22 lengths while never under any duress.
Echo Zulu has posted six solid morning drills on the oval in advance of her seasonal bow which should have her close to fully fit on Saturday. She is immensely swift from the gate and in the early stages, and as controlling speed in this tilt, the standout lass will be clear soon after the break as a most imposing foe to run down.
While it will be difficult to bet on her to win with expected odds in the 1-5 range, there is some value to be had in the vertical exotics in my opinion.
Conditioner Todd Pletcher will bring in Florida invader #3 Favor (8-1), who has won two races in succession in the Sunshine State. The $500,000 yearling purchase faces a stiff class hike while making her Fair Grounds debut, but she has improved her Brisnet Speed figure in each lifetime outing to date, and I expect her to thrive while traveling two turns for the first time.
The improving gray comes in fresh and her latest half-mile morning drill was one of her fastest works to date. Favor possesses tactical speed and a nice turn of foot, and I expect her to track from third place to the turn for home, prior to securing place honors in her stakes debut. Tyler Gaffalione will be in the stirrups.
Fair Grounds Oaks value play
- $40 exacta 1 with 3 ($40)