Oaklawn Handicap Predictions, Picks, Odds (Oaklawn Park)

Oaklawn Handicap Odds and Post Position

Check out our predictions and odds for the 2022 Oaklawn Handicap at Oaklawn Park!

PP Horse Odds Jockey Trainer
F Geroux R Brisset
D Cohen R Diodoro
J Court D Stewart
4 IDOL 5/1
R A Vasquez R Baltas
R Santana Jr F Villafranco
J Rosario B Cox
I Castillo S Asmussen
J Ortiz T Pletcher

Oaklawn Handicap Predictions and Best Bets

Here are my plays ($50 in total)

$5 Exacta Box – Fearless, Rated R Superstar and Beau Luminarie = $30

$10 Exacta Part Wheel – Fearless over Rated R Superstar and Beau Luminarie = $20

If you’re playing only to win, go with my top pick Fearless (9/5)

Oaklawn Handicap

Second in this race last year, Fearless comes back to Arkansas to try and do one better as he tops a field of eight older males set for Saturday’s $1 million Oaklawn Handicap.

Since missing by only a half-length in the 2021 edition, Fearless has continued his consistent form. Most recently, he has finished first or second in four consecutive graded stakes at Gulfstream Park, including a six length romp in the Grade 3 Ghostzapper last time.

Trained by Todd Pletcher, the 6-year-old son of Ghostzapper will carry the co-highweight of 121 pounds in the 9-furlong, Grade 2 feature.

Equally weighted at the 121 impost is Plainsman. Trained by Brad Cox, the 7-year-old veteran will be making his third consecutive start at Oaklawn Park on Saturday.

The son of Flatter scored a hard-fought victory in the Grade 3 Razorback two starts back, and was second to the late running Rated R Superstar in last month’s Grade 2 Essex

The horse who defeated Plainsman in the Essex also should get plenty of support. A 9-year-old gelding trained by Federico Villafranco, Rated R Superstar has never been better.

He’s won two of three at Oaklawn Park this year, having also rallied to win the Fifth Season Stakes in January.

Another horse of interest in the Oaklawn Handicap is Idol. A full brother to the talented filly Nest, the 5-year-old son of Curlin will be making his first start of the season. Two starts back, he accounted for the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap in March of 2021.

Oaklawn Handicap Predictions and Race Analysis


The Todd Pletcher-trainee didn’t miss by much last year in the Oaklawn Handicap and now with more solid experience under his belt and excellent form coming in, he looks like the one to beat in this year’s edition.

Having had the good race over the track last year certainly doesn’t hurt, but the fact that he has been running regularly and quite well recently has me believing that he is ready to win a million-dollar race.

Note that in winning twice and running second twice in four straight graded stakes in South Florida, the only horse to beat him was Speaker’s Corner, and that one is very good.

His running style, sitting off the early speed and pouncing looks like it will be effective here, and the 9 furlongs might be his best distance. He is the top pick.


This veteran has run plenty of good races of late for trainer Brad Cox. He has good tactical speed and he seems to fire every time. He comes into this test off two very solid performances over the track, winning the Grade 3 Razorback, before running second in the Grade 3 Essex.

Just like those races, he will once again be the most likely candidate to go after the speedy Thomas Shelby once again. If he doesn’t, that could make the speed tough to catch, but how much will it take out of this co-highweight.

He obviously can still be very effective down the lane after challenging Thomas Shelby, but now at 9 furlongs, and with Fearless in close pursuit, I believe it will be tough for him to get the win. He’s obviously a big threat, but I am siding with others here.

Rated R Superstar

What’s not to like about this battling 9-year-old? He’s always had the talent to win stakes races — he was Grade 1 placed seven years ago — but now he seems to be as consistent as he’s ever been.

A rallying winner over Plainsman last summer at Remington Park, he will be looking for his fourth stakes win in the last six starts on Saturday. Most recently, he ran one of the best races of his life to rally right by the competition in the Grade 3 Essex.

Things are no easier here, but given his recent form, a fondness for the Oaklawn Park oval, and a reasonable pace scenario to set up his late run, there is little reason to believe that he will not come running with a strong late run once again.


Perhaps no horse in the race has a bigger upside than this one. He is already a Grade 1 winner, but if he can find his best form again, last year’s Santa Anita Handicap might not be his only victory racing at the highest level. Having said that, this looks like a pretty tricky spot for him.

He has only had one start since his big win 13 months ago, and that came more than six months ago. Obviously trying to overcome some physical issues, the effort last October in the Grade 1 Awesome Again was not good.

Now he returns after another layoff and once again does it in a pretty salty spot. If he can get to 100% again, he would be tough to beat here, but I think it is more likely that he will need at least one race back to approach his best.

Thomas Shelby

The Curlin gelding has proved himself against graded stakes competition of late, but he has been unable to solve the riddle of Plainsman. In two tries against that rival, he was hounded early and could not hold him off in the stretch.

Despite his string of solid performances, it looks like once again he is destined to fall a little short in the late stages. Once again Plainsman is not likely to let him get away early, and with even tougher competition here, he is unable to carry his speed the full 9 furlongs of the Oaklawn Handicap.

Beau Luminarie

Full disclosure, this 6-year-old son of I Want Revenge was my longshot selection in the Grade 3 Essex last time. He ran a good race, but came up a little short when third behind Rated R Superstar and Plainsman at odds of 14/1.

Undeterred, the very consistent Rodolphe Brisset runner will be my longshot pick again on Saturday. With a similar pace scenario as the last one, I again expect the gelding to make a strong rally, as he so often does. He might not get the win, but I love his value as a horse to rally right up into the exotics.

Last Samurai

This 4-year-old son of Malibu Moon has made some nice strides of late, but I don’t have too much confidence in him against this group. A stakes winner at Oaklawn Park in December, it came in the ungraded Poinsettia Stakes over Super Stock.

In his two starts since, the Dallas Stewart-trained runner was off the board behind Plainsman in the Razorback, before running a good second to the long winded Lone Rock in the 12 furlong Temperence Hill Stakes. Now he cuts back in distance and faces a big task. I am going to take a pass on him here.

Super Stock

The winner of the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby in 2021, he has not been able to repeat that success against top competition since. There have been a pair of stakes wins in his last nine races, but they both came against lesser competition than he will face here.

Two starts back he finished well back of Plainsman and Thomas Shelby in the Razorback, and last time a trip to New Orleans did not yield a much better result. I do not see him winning this, nor do I believe he is likely to be in the exotics.

How to Watch the Oaklawn Handicap

Oaklawn Handicap Race Information
What Oaklawn Handicap (Grade 2)
Location Oaklawn Park
Time Saturday, April 23 — 6:41 pm Eastern time
How to Watch TVG
Purse $1,000,000

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Brian Zipse

Expert on Horse Racing

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.

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