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Odds taken from Twinspires Sportsbook
|R Santana Jr||J Divito|
|J Court||M Lauer|
|M Garcia||B J Koriner|
|4||EMPIRE OF GOLD||8/1
|R Eramia||T Eoff|
|J Rosario||S Asmussen|
|L Quinonez||J L Jones|
$50 Exacta – Jackie’s Warrior over Bob’s Edge = $50
Top Pick: Jackie’s Warrior (4/5)
All eyes will be on Jackie’s Warrior, as the champion male sprinter of 2021 returns to the races and headlines a field of six sets for Saturday’s Grade 3 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap at Oaklawn Park.
The 4-year-old Eclipse Award winner will carry the highweight of 123 pounds as he spots his rivals between two and eight pounds in the 6-furlong, $500,000 feature.
A seven-time graded stakes winner in his first two seasons, the Steve Asmussen trainee has not run since the Breeders’ Cup in November and had a chip removed from a front knee during the time off.
Chief among his rivals on Saturday will be the streaking Bob’s Edge. Trained by Larry Jones, the 4-year-old son of Competitive Edge has won two straight-stakes races at Oaklawn Park and 6-of-13 overall.
Most recently, the gelding came from well off the pace to win the Grade 3, Whitmore, four weeks ago.
The likely third choice is the California-bred Letsgetlucky. The gelded son of Munnings ships in from Southern California with good speed and solid recent form for trainer Brian Korner. Count Fleet Sprint Predictions and Race Analysis
Champion Jackie's Warrior galloping under exercise rider Adolfo Garcia Friday morning @OaklawnRacing for HOF trainer Steve Asmussen. Pointing for the $500,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) April 16. pic.twitter.com/3BZANHij6o
— Robert Yates (@RobertYates1982) April 8, 2022
It’s great to have the champion back after minor knee surgery was needed after a poor performance in the Breeders’ Cup. That result was very uncharacteristic of this excellent sprinter, and with the procedure done and recovered from, I expect to see him back at his best.
The layoff should only make him fresh and ready to flaunt his excellent early speed. There is one other horse in the race capable of pressing him early, but on his game, I believe this son of Maclean’s Music will be able to put him away before they hit the stretch.
While I often try to beat the heavy favorite, I really don’t believe it is the right play in this spot. Enjoy one of the nation’s fastest horses as he returns on Saturday. He is the top pick.
The obvious top threat to the champion, this one has always been a capable sprinter, but really has taken things to a new level this year. He seems to have found his niche, making one late run in these sprints and certainly seems to like the Oaklawn racing surface.
If the favorite runs his race, I don’t think he can beat him, but any chinks in the armor shown by Jackie’s Warrior, and this one should be ready to pounce.
With a strong early pace projected and little traffic to worry about, he seems very likely to come running down the stretch. It will likely be for second place, but you never know.
The most inexperienced sprinter of the bunch, this one has made nice progress so far in his nine-race career. He has solid tactical speed and has never finished out of the money in his career.
Having said that, he has yet to break through against good horses. In fact, this will be his graded stakes debut, after having finished third in a pair of state-bred stakes previously.
The good news is that his last two or three appear to be his best yet, and he could sit a good stalking trip behind the speed. He is in with a shot.
On his best, this son of Goldencents can be a very tough out. Evidence of that came 18 months ago when he finished second in the Grade 2 Phoenix at Keeneland and followed it up with a solid fourth in the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
Perhaps that will be the best we see of him, but he seemed to be rounding into decent form again last fall in Oklahoma. He has lots of speed, but so does Jackie’s Warrior.
Given that, I can’t love his chances, of battling with the champion, but if for whatever reason the champ does not come back at his best, this one suddenly becomes much more dangerous.
This 7-year-old veteran finished fifth of seven in this race last year as a pretty big longshot and looks to be a longshot once again. Having said that, the ten-time winner is coming off one of the strongest performances of his career.
The nice win came in a salty allowance race at Oaklawn Park just three weeks ago, and a repeat of that performance makes him at least one to consider for the exotics. I like others better, but certainly could see him putting in another good run to grab third or fourth.
An eight-time winner in his career, this son of Ready’s Image knows his way to the winner’s circle. Most of his career victories, however, have come against fellow Indiana-breds. He’s certainly never beaten, or even faced the likes of Jackie’s Warrior.
His win over the track three starts back was promising, but he has come up short against solid allowance company in the last two. There is hope for him to hit the board, but of the six, I like him the least.
|Count Fleet Sprint Race Information|
|What||Count Fleet Sprint (Grade 3)|
|Time||Saturday, April 16 — 6:42 pm Eastern time|
|How to Watch||TVG|
Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.
Email: [email protected]
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