Spot Plays: Oaklawn Park, March 18, 2017

Royal Mo, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Jerome S. Moss, will attempt to win his third consecutive race in the $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) at Oaklawn Park on March 18.  Photo by Benoit photo

The Green Sheet nearly ran the table at Tampa Bay Downs on March 11, as two of my three top picks won–Dickinson ($8) in the Hillsborough (G2) and Tapwrit ($4.20) in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2)–furthermore, Compelled ran a huge race in the Florida Oaks (G3) and was only beaten two necks for all the money at nearly 3-1.

On the day, The Sheet had three winners from seven top picks for a 43 percent strike rate; six of those selections hit the board, 86 percent in the money.

Admittedly, the winners last weekend went off a short prices, and this weekend’s pair of races–Oaklawn’s Essex Handicap and Rebel Stakes (G2) and the Santa Margarita (G1) from Santa Anita–have a chalky feel to them as well. Shotgun Kowboy (5-1 morning line), however, has a chance to go gate-to-wire in the Essex and Royal Mo, tabbed at 9-2 on the morning line, has enough natural speed to overcome his wide post draw to post a mild upset in the Rebel (G2).

I decided to take a pass on the Azeri Stakes (G2), as Terra Promessa (3-5 morning line), looks to have that seven-horse field over the proverbial barrel, and the Santa Margarita (G1) is a two-horse race on paper between Vale Dori (Arg), who is 9-5 on the morning line, and Finest City who is the 8-5 favorite.

Next weekend, I’ll focus on three races from Turfway Park in Florence, Kentucky–the $500,000 JACK Cincinnati Casino Spiral Stakes (G3), the $100,000 Bourbonette Oaks (G3), and the $100,000 Rushaway Stakes.

For the March 18, 2017 Spot Plays from Oaklawn Park and Santa Anita, click HERE.

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