Spot Plays: Oaklawn Park & Santa Anita, January 16, 2017

Harry T. Rosenblum and Robert LaPenta’s Uncontested is the morning line favorite in the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn Park. Photo by Coady Photography


Our Spot Plays at Gulfstream Park for Saturday, January 14 didn’t fare too poorly, as Tommy Macho ($7.20)  won the Hal’s Hope Stakes (G3) by open lengths, an overbet Divisidero (5-2) was only beaten a length for all the money in the Ft. Lauderdale Handicap (G2) despite being extremely wide in the stretch drive, and Dickinson (3-1) steadied at the quarter-pole and was only beaten a length and a half for the win in the Marsha’s River Stakes (G3).

Moving forward, I’ll take a look at a pair of stakes races on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day cards at Oaklawn Park and Santa Anita Park–the $150,000 Smarty Jones and the Megahertz Stakes (G3), respectively. After handicapping the Toboggan (G3) from Aqueduct, I decided to take a pass, as the race scratched down to a six-horse field headlined by Stallwalkin’ Dude, the 4-5 morning line favorite who, on paper,  has the field over the proverbial barrel.

The tenth running of the Smarty Jones is the first of four prep races for the 2017 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) at Oaklawn Park, and this year’s renewal of the one-mile dirt test attracted a well-matehced field of eight three-year-olds including the restricted stakes winner Warrior’s Club and improving colts Petrov and Uncontested.

Rain has crippled the turf racing program at Santa Anita Park thus far in 2017 but, hopefully, today’s $100,000 Megahertz Stakes (G3) stays on the grass as there was no turf racing yesterday in Arcadia (main track was “fast” for the entire card) and today’s forecast is rain-free with partly cloudy skies. At 5-1 on the morning line, the French-bred filly Kenriya (Fr) looks like an interesting prospect in this mile turf test, as she’s group stakes placed at Chantilly, has won 50 percent of her starts lifetime and will get Lasix for the first time.

This weekend is loaded with stakes action from coast to coast, with the primary action taking place in New Orleans, La. I’ll provide free analysis and selections for the Colonel E.R. Bradley Handicap (G3), the Lecomte Stakes (G3), and the Silverbulletday Stakes (Listed) on January 21 from the Fair Grounds. Additionally, I’ll dissect Saturday’s Santa Monica Handicap (G2) from Santa Anita Park and the California Derby from Golden Gate Fields.

For today’s Oaklawn and Santa Anita spot plays from The Green Sheet, click HERE.

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