It is the first Saturday in April and we have one, count ‘em one stakes race in the entire U.S., the $100,000 Purple Martin at Oaklawn Park.
The first Saturday in April was supposed to offer up horseplayers a trio of Road to the Kentucky Derby points races— the Santa Anita Derby, Blue Grass and Wood Memorial.
Let’s just be thankful we have Gulfstream Park, Oaklawn Park and Tampa Bay Downs in action today, shall we?
The Bill Mott trained Frank’s Rockette is coming off a seven-length victory in the Any Limit at Gulfstream Park and is the 5-2 morning line favorite in today’s Purple Martin, which drew a field of 10 three-year-old fillies.
“Looks like it’s come up a good race,” Mott said. “I know there are some fillies in there that look like they don’t know how to get beat. Wesley Ward has a filly that’s run in good company. It looks like a very competitive race.”
And he is right. There are a couple of nice fillies that could give the favorite a run for her money. Among them are the Wesley Ward trainee Kimari, who was beaten just a neck at Royal Ascot in the Queen Mary Stakes (G2) last June.
Ring Leader won the Dixie Belle two back at today’s six furlongs and Edgeway earned a strong number breaking her maiden in her debut for trainer John Sadler.
There is national television coverage today on two sports networks, who are starved for content. FS1 will broadcast the action from 1:30 to 6:00 ET. The NBC Sports Network will simulcast the TVG Network feed from 4:00 to 7:00 ET.
My Best Plays Report for Saturday includes my nine strongest plays from Gulfstream Park and Oaklawn Park. In addition, I also have my full card report for the 12-race Gulfstream Park card.
Let’s head out to Oaklawn Park for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Oaklawn Park Race 9 The Purple Martin (Post time 5:09 CT)
8 Frank’s Rockette 5-2
2 Ring Leader 6-1
1 Kimari 4-1
4 Edgeway 3-1
The Mott trainee is coming off a huge win in the Any Limit last out at Gulfstream Park at six furlongs in her first start off a 4 1/2-month break. The filly set the early fractions and then trounced the field by seven lengths in fast time. She has not missed landing in the exacta in five starts, running second in back to back Grade 1 races in New York last year. She owns a solid pace profile throughout and can win this from up front or more likely to track just off the pace. The Mott barn is 23% winners (with a +ROI) with runners making their second start off a 45-180-day break. She is bred to handle a wet track.
This filly may offer some value here with our top pick likely to go off as the short priced favorite. The filly cuts back to a sprint after setting the early fractions and weakened to finish fifth in the Honeybee (G3) here going two turns. She was perfect in three starts sprinting including winning the Dixie Belle here at six furlongs two back. She beat Alw-1 optional claimers in the mud three back. She owns solid early and mid pace numbers and looks as if she is going to be a fair price in this spot.
The Wesley Ward trainee has not been on the main track since breaking her maiden going 4 1/2 furlongs at Keeneland in her debut by 15 lengths. She missed by just a head in a 25-horse field in the Queen Mary Stakes (G2) on turf at Royal Ascot in her next start. She makes her first start since making a mild late rally to finish fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2) against the boys at Santa Anita at five furlongs. She has always worked well on dirt and popped a bullet work at Keeneland on March 30. The Ward barn is 22% winners with runners coming back off a 61-180-day layoff.
WIN: #8 to win at 2-1 or better.
EX: 2,8 / 1,2,4,8
TRI: 2,8 / 1,2,4,8 / 1,2,4,6,8