Keeneland Select Pick of the Day | April 13, 2019
Race 9 at Oaklawn Park on Saturday, April 13 | Post Time 6:22 PM Eastern Time
Oaklawn Handicap | Purse $750,000 | One and One Eighth Miles | Four Year Olds and Upward
Tenfold (1) had a pretty good campaign as a three year old last year when banking over $700,000 and winning the Grade 1 Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga in July, earning a 108 Equibase Speed Figure in the process. Two before that he missed by a half-length and a neck to eventual Triple Crown winner Justify in the Preakness, earning a career-best 110 figure. The distance of the Jim Dandy was the same mile and one-eighth as this race and the Preakness was a sixteenth of a mile longer so there is no doubt he can get the trip, nor that he will perform well on a likely wet track as that was the conditions for the Preakness. In his first start as a four year old last month, and following six months off, Tenfold ran pretty well considering that was just a stepping stone to this race. He finished fourth but was beaten a head, neck and half-length for the win. Adding blinkers for the Oaklawn Handicap and getting the ground saving rail, Tenfold is reunited with Santana, who has been aboard for all three career wins. Santana will have the choice to send the colt to the lead or wait to see if another horse or two want the front early, in which case he can relax in second or third. With a ton of improving to do in his second race off the layoff and imagining this was trainer Asmussen's target all along, Tenfold could be tough to beat in this race.
Rated R Superstar (9) won the presumptive prep for the Oaklawn Handicap, the Essex Handicap, four weeks ago over the track at a mile and one-sixteenth. He has won a stakes at this nine furlong trip, capturing the Grade 3 Ben Ali Stakes at Keeneland nearly a year ago to the day, and he likes the Oaklawn surface where he's finished first or second in five of eight races. Before winning the Ben Ali last year, Rated R Superstar prepped at Oaklawn with a fine runner-up effort in a classified allowance versus multiple stakes winner Shotgun Kowboy, earning a 104 figure he improved upon nicely with a 109 in the Ben Ali. This year, Rate R Superstar is on the same pattern as he earned a 107 figure in the Essex so he could run in the 109-111 range in this race, which would be good enough to win. He has won on a wet track but his record of one-for-eight does give a bit of concern and he did have to battle head-and-head down the stretch in the Essex which may mean he could regress, as opposed to Tenfold who can move forward second off the layoff. Just the same, considering his "come from the clouds" running style, Rated R Superstar won't have to expend a lot of energy for the first six furlongs to a mile in this race and could pass them all for his second stakes win in a row.
Quip (7), like Tenfold, is a fairly newly turned four year old and lightly raced. He won the Tampa Bay Derby in his 2018 debut then was second in the Arkansas Derby on this weekend last year, before skipping the Kentucky Derby. After finishing nearly 50 lengths behind Justify in the Preakness, Quip was given a lengthy reprieve and returned in mid-February to finish third in the Hal's Hope Stakes at Gulfstream behind Prince Lucky, who came back to win again since that race. Quip is bred to handle the nine furlong trip and proved so in the Arkansas Derby, but will need to improve off the 100 figure earned in his comeback race to be competitive although I to think that's a decent possibility, particularly with Jose Ortiz riding back after getting to know him in the Hal's Hope.
For the exacta I will add Lookin at Lee (4) and Lone Sailor (8) in the runner-up spot as both have proven capable of finishing well but most of the time finishing too late to win.
Win Bets: Tenfold (1) to win at odds of 2 to 1 or more.
"IF" Rated R Superstar (9) should be near 5 to 2 odds near post time, and/or if Quip (7) should be near 7 to 2 odds near post time, smaller win bets (than on Tenfold) are also possible
Exacta: Tenfold (1), Rated R Superstar (9) and Quip (7) over Tenfold (1), Rated R Superstar (9), Quip (7), Lookin at Lee (4) and Lone Sailor (8).