Exotics plays for the Oaklawn Handicap

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April 16th, 2021

A sharp field of eight will run nine furlongs in Saturday’s lucrative $1 million Oaklawn H. (G2). The especially well-matched field features some budding stars in the handicap division and promises to be a thrilling event.

In a cast with so many stout closers in the mix, establishing a good position in the early stages will be of great importance on Saturday. And that is why I am going to base many wagers around expected pacesetter #4 Warrior’s Charge (6-1), and to a lesser extent, #2 Express Train (5-2).

Warrior’s Charge is a great gate horse who has vast experience on the Oaklawn strip for conditioner Brad Cox with a 7-3-2-2 local line. Second in the race in 2020, the five-year-old son of Munnings was a smart runner-up in an allowance race on the course going one-mile off the layoff, and he will benefit from having the outing under his belt.

The Florida-bred is winless dating back to February of last season, but he has a tactical edge on Saturday and will be in the mix late at a nice price. I don’t need the dark bay to beat this fine field, he just has to be in the top three under Elvin Gonzalez.

Express Train has never been better as he brings superb form to the race as the one to beat for trainer John Shirreffs. The $500,000 son of Union Rags recorded a fine triumph in the San Pasqual H. (G2) two back, prior to his sharp runner-up finish in the Santa Anita H. (G1) last time out.

Bred in the Bluegrass State, the four-year-old colt has a high ceiling and figures to sit in second or third to the top of the lane with Juan Hernandez making the trek from the Golden State to ride.

#1 Silver State (4-1) has won four races in succession for Asmussen, with two recent stakes wins on the course. Hard Spun colt faces a tall task in this spot, but he can’t be left out of the exotics from the rail.

Gulfstream Park Mile S. (G2) star #3 Fearless (7-2) and the hard-trying, multiple Grade 1-placed  #6 Owendale (7-2), each possesses a fine closing kick and will be making their way inside the final furlong. #8 Silver Prospector (10-1) is a Grade 3 winner on the surface and could peak in his third attempt of 2021.

In a race where the money will be spread out, I will do the same with numerous small plays.

Oaklawn H. Wagers

  • $5 exacta box: 2-4 ($10)
  • $1 exacta key box: 4 with 1,3,6,8 ($8)
  • $1 trifecta: 2,4 with 2,4 with 1,3,6,8 ($8)
  • $1 trifecta: 2,4 with 1,3,6,8 with 2,4 ($8)
  • $.10-cent superfecta key: 4 with 1,2,3,6,8 ($6)
  • $.10-cent superfecta: 2,4 with 2,4 with 1,3,6,8 with 1,3,6,8 ($2.40)
  • $.10-cent superfecta: 2,4 with 1,3,6,8 with 2,4 with 1,3,6,8 ($2.40)

Good Luck!