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|R Santana Jr||B Cox|
|E T Baird||S Manley|
|3||W W FITZY||8/1
|D Cohen||R Diodoro|
|K Harr||C Deatherage|
|R A Vasquez||S Asmussen|
|M Garcia||P D’Amato|
|D Cabrera||G Garcia|
$10 Exacta part wheel – Miss Bigly over Coach, Breeze Rider and W W Fitzy = $30
$5 Exacta part wheel – Coach, Breeze Rider and W W Fitzy over Miss Bigly = $15
If you’re playing only to win, go with my top pick Miss Bigly (3/1).
A winner over the track in her first race back since the Kentucky Oaks, Coach will try to make it two in a row after the eight-month layoff when she tops a field of seven older females entered in the $150,000 Pippin Stakes on Saturday at Oaklawn Park.
A stakes-winning daughter of Commissioner, Coach rallied to win by two lengths in the mud over the local strip when taking an allowance race three weeks ago. Trained by Brad Cox, she was also third in the Grade 3 Fantasy Stakes last spring at Oaklawn.
There is plenty of competition to challenge Coach in the one-mile affair. Chief among them is Miss Bigly from the barn of Phil D’Amato. A restricted stakes winner at Del Mar three starts back, she has kept the good company of late finishing third in both the Grade 2 Zenyatta and the Grade 3 Chilukki in her last two starts.
Another who should get plenty of support is the Steve Manley-trained Breeze Rider. A 5-year-old Paynter mare, she earned her first two stakes victories in her last two starts, including a 4 3/4-length wire-to-wire win last time in the My Charmer Stakes at Turfway Park.
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With all of her graded stakes experience, this daughter of Commissioner looks like a deserving favorite on Saturday. An excellent 2-year-old filly in 2020, she wasn’t quite able to break through last season but was running against many of the top 3-year-old fillies in the land. Not only did she look good returning from a sizable layoff last time, but she did it right here at Oaklawn Park. Trained by Brad Cox, she should have a solid early pace to set the table for her late run in the Pippin. There is a lot to like here, with the only negative being her likely low odds. She is the one to beat, but with the lack of value, I am going to side with another.
Since winning an allowance race at Oaklawn Park late last April, this 6-year-old daughter of Gemologist has proven herself in stakes company. She has run in five consecutive stakes races, has kept very solid company, and has not finished worse than third in any of them. Proven over the track, she has the good tactical speed to stalk the likely pacesetter, Breeze Rider, and has an excellent record at the tricky one-mile distance. Trained by Phil D’Amato, she is also very consistent, with her only bad race the past two years coming on the turf. In fact, she has never finished out of the money on dirt. She is the top pick.
This gray daughter of Race Day is no stranger to stakes racing. Trained by the Hall of Famer, Steve Asmussen, she has run in four consecutive $100,000 races, with a win and a third to show for her effort. This one may be the toughest test of the bunch, though, as she comes off a third and a fifth in her last two races, both at Laurel Park. She’s had mixed results previously at Oaklawn Park, having won an allowance race in the slop last year, but finishing way back in the other two. She is a threat, but despite her connections and stakes experience, I will be siding with others in the Pippin.
The hottest horse in the field, she has won two in a row, and four of her last five races. Things will only get tougher on Saturday, but it’s hard not to be impressed with her recent form. Her last two were her best yet, and this is a mare who likes to win. She has won 11-of-24 overall, but only three of the wins have come on the dirt. Most of her best races have come on the turf, and the last one at Turfway Park came on their synthetic main track. If she can transfer her excellent racing to the main track, she has a big shot to get very brave on the lead on Saturday.
This 6-year-old daughter of Well-Positioned will make her first start for successful trainer Robertino Diodoro on Saturday after being claimed for $62,500 out of her last race. An Illinois-bred, she has experience at Oaklawn Park, having run in four straight races here early last year. She had one impressive win in the bunch and finished second, third, and fourth in the other three. In the last of the four, she was handled pretty easily by Miss Bigly. Still, her experience over the track is pretty solid, and with her new connections, and adding blinkers on Saturday, she might be ready to take a step forward. She is an interesting long shot.
This daughter of Warrior’s Reward left her home base of Indiana Grand last time to face Coach in that local allowance race. Sent off at big odds, she set the pace and hung on reasonably well to finish third. Having said that, she was no match for Coach down the lane, and that one is likely to only get a better second race off the layoff. This 5-year-old mare is accustomed to running against Indiana-birds, and despite her recent decent race over the track, I think she is a full cut below the best ones in here.
Bred in Washington state, this daughter of Ministers Wild Cat will make her stakes debut on Saturday. It would seem like Oaklawn Park is the perfect place for her to do that, as she sports a perfect 3-for-3 record at the Arkansas oval, while she is 0-for-10 everywhere else. Two of those three victories came against much cheaper when she was still a claimer early last year, but her most recent victory at Oaklawn came just four weeks ago when she upset an allowance field at odds of 27/1. She will be a long shot again, and I like others better, but she cannot be completely dismissed considering her recent win and fondness for the surroundings.
|Pippin Stakes Race Information|
|Time||Saturday, January 8 — 4:46 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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