Race 8 at Oaklawn Park | Saturday, April 18 | Post Time 5:14 PM Eastern Time
Count Fleet Sprint Handicap – Grade 3 | Purse $350,000 | Six Furlongs | Three Year Olds and Upward
This is a pretty talented field of sprinters, 11 to be exact. With so many potentials the first thing to do is analyze the possible pace scenario of the race and see if a few horses can be eliminated if they can only run well if on the lead early. Obviously, Bobby’s Wicked One (4) (the 3/1 second choice on the morning line) is a need-the-lead type, evidenced by his last five wins including three stakes wins being earned when leading start to finish only. Share the Upside (10) earned his most recent win, in the King Cotton Stakes in February, was earned leading from start to finish and he was never farther back then a half-length in his other wins, so particularly from the 10 post it’s likely he will have to be sent for the lead as well. Hidden Scroll (7) is another likely to be battling for the lead or pressing the pace. He won his most recent start (3/1) leading from start to finish, as he did in his debut 14 months earlier. Then there are probably three other horses which have shown they like to race close up early.
So, if the early pace scenario is contested as I suspect it will be, Mr. Jagermeister (6), Whitmore (9) and Flagstaff (2) are the three biggest beneficiaries and win contenders. With Whitmore opening as the 5/2 favorite and Flagstaff the third favorite on the morning line at 3/1, the one which offers the best profit opportunity is Mr. Jagermeister, who opens at 15/1.
Mr. Jagermeister (6) has earned $577K in his career, making him the third highest earning horse in the field. A winner of 11 races from 20 dirt tries, he’s also been first or second in 11 of 13 career six furlong sprints. Mr. Jagermeister has also never finished worse than second in three races at Oaklawn, including a runner-up finish in the Hot Springs Stakes over the track last month, two lengths behind Whitmore. He was 5/1 that day but opens at three times those odds here, which makes no sense. He’s also on a great pattern which is similar to last year when he shipped in from Turf Paradise and won an allowance race at Oaklawn in his second start since a third place finish in the Phoenix Gold Cup. This year he won the Phoenix Gold Cup before the Hot Springs Stakes and so this will be his third start off the Gold Cup, which last year was the allowance win which earned a 114 Equibase figure, duplicating that number in his next start when winning a stakes at this six furlong trip at Colonial Downs. Having earned the same 114 figure in this year’s Gold Cup, even though he regressed a bit in the Hot Spring, it would be no surprise to see him run that kind of race here, which is good enough to post the upset at double digit odds.
Whitmore (9) leads the field on class, with 13 career wins and $2.9 million in earnings. Eight of the wins have been at Oaklawn including in this race in 2018. He finished second in this race last year, which was no disgrace as the winner was Mitole. In his 2020 debut and after two months off, Whitmore finished second to Share the Upside in the King Cotton Stakes. Share the Upside led from start to finish in that race, which appears unlikely here as long as Bobby’s Wicked One and Hidden Scroll run, so that race does not appear to be representative of what Whitmore can do. Instead, Whitmore is likely to repeat his effort last month in the Hot Springs Stakes, where he stalked in third and drew off late with a 113 figure. Having earned 121 and 114 figures in his two starts at Oaklawn last year, there’s little doubt Whitmore can run another “A” race good enough to win here.
Flagstaff (2) is a six year old which has had his issues as he’s only run 11 times. Taking out his only two-turn try, Flagstaff has a record of 5-3-2 in those 10 races. His last four have been stakes, two to end his 2019 campaign and two this year, both superb efforts. First, he was beaten a neck in the Grade 2 Palos Verdes Stakes then he won the Grade 2 San Carlos. The first of the two wins earned him a career best 116 figure and in that race he stalked in second and missed by a neck. He earned a lower 106 figure last out but last year he ran consistently with 112, 111 and 112 figures in three of his last four races. In the San Carlos, Flagstaff raced fourth early, then rallied so he could be in about the same early spot as Whitmore and as Mr. Jagermeister, which gives him a strong chance to repeat his San Carlos win.
If the pace completely falls apart, Hog Creek Hustle (3), Manny Wah (8) and Nitrous (11) have shots to get into the exacta at big odds, and it is also possible Bobby’s Wicked One (4) could hang around for second or third, so on some exacta tickets we’ll use them as well.
Win Bets: Mr. Jagermeister (6) to win at odds of 3 to 1 or more.
Additionally, “IF” Whitmore (9) or Flagstaff (2) is 3 to 1 near post time, but the one at the highest odds as well.
Mr. Jagermeister (6) over ALL, then ALSO (the opposite), which is All over Mr. Jagermeister.
Flagstaff (2) and Whitmore (9) over ALL
Flagstaff (2) and Whitmore (9) over Flagstaff (2), Hog Creek Hustle (3), Bobby’s Wicked One (4), Mr. Jagermeister (6), Manny Wah (8), Whitmore (9) and Nitrous (11).