Picks and analysis for the graded stakes at Oaklawn Park
By New York Hot List Staff
With the latest announcement that the opening of Belmont Park has been delayed, the New York Hot List team will continue to provide picks and analysis of important races around the country. This week it will be the $350,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) and the $600,000 Apple Blossom (G1) from Oaklawn Park.
Here is the New York Hot List analysis for those two races. Good luck, if you are playing.
The Count Fleet drew a field of 11 older male sprinters. At six furlongs, it shapes up as a classic battle between several speedy front runners and some veteran closers who do their best when the pace is hot. Bobby’s Wicked One, Hidden Scroll, and Mr. Jagermeister are all very fast and want the lead, so that gives an advantage to the late runners.
Count Fleet (G3) – Oaklawn Park – race 8 – 5:14 pm ET
(2) Flagstaff is one of the closers who will benefit from the anticipated fast early pace. The John Sadler trainee is the recent winner of the San Carlos (G2) at Santa Anita. (9) Whitmore is the king of the late running sprinters at Oaklawn. He was last seen winning the Hot Springs Stakes at Oaklawn. Whitmore won the Count Fleet in 2017 and 2018 and has six other victories at the Arkansas track. (7) Hidden Scroll returned to the races after 10 months off to win a Gulfstream Park allowance by more than 12 lengths. He is certain to be part of the battle for the early lead. Is the Bill Mott runner the fastest of that group? (11) Nitrous has been off since September and will come with big odds for Steve Asmussen. He might be flying down the middle of the stretch at the end of the race.
The Apple Blossom drew a full field of 14 talented older females to race 1 1/16 mile. Serengeti Empress will once again try and take an Oaklawn stake while leading every step of the way. If she falters there will be talented late runners waiting to pick up the pieces.
Apple Blossom (G1) – Oaklawn Park – race 10 – 6:16 pm ET
(12) Go Google Yourself won the Bayakoa (G3) at Oaklawn in February and with 3 victories in her last four starts is clearly a mare that is getting better. She is the winner of both of her starts at OP. She will come with generous odds and will stalk the likely early leader. (11) Serengeti Empress is hard to beat when she can open a comfortable lead in two-turn races then she can carve out steady fast fractions and that makes her hard to beat. However, she has not won two races in a row since the beginning of her career. (14) Ce Ce won her last two starts including the Beholder Mile (G1) with a strong late move. The Michael McCarthy runner has clearly improved as a 4-year-old. (5) Point of Honor was the winner of the Black-Eyed Susan (G2) last year and then was second in two Saratoga Grade 1s. She may be ready for a big effort after a 2020 debut allowance at Tampa.