Entries and J’s Picks for Oaklawn Handicap at Oaklawn Park on May 2, 2020

The Oaklawn Handicap might be the deepest of the bunch with a powerful group of 14 horses assembled, including 2020 Santa Anita Handicap winner Combatant, 2020 Pegasus World Cup Invitational runner-up Mr Freeze, 2018 Preakness Stakes runner-up Bravazo, 2019 Belmont and Travers Stakes runner-up Tacitus, Grade 1 winner Improbable, and multiple graded stakes winner By My Standards.

Race 12. Oaklawn Handicap. For four-year-old and up at 1 1/8 miles on the dirt. Purse $600,000.

Entries:

PP Horse Jockey Trainer M/L
1 Chess Chief  Brian Joseph Hernandez, Jr. Dallas Stewart 30/1
2 Trophy Chaser  Samy Camacho Juan Carlos Avila 12/1
3 Bravazo  Miguel Mena D. Wayne Lukas 30/1
4 Mr Freeze  Joseph Talamo Dale L. Romans 6/1
5 Identifier  Stewart Elliott Oscar M. Gonzalez 20/1
6 Warrior’s Charge  Florent Geroux Brad H. Cox 8/1
7 Combatant  Joel Rosario John W. Sadler 4/1
8 Sky Promise  Orlando Mojica Robertino Diodoro 20/1
9 Tacitus  John R. Velazquez William I. Mott 9/2
10 Captivating Moon  Julien R. Leparoux Chris M. Block 20/1
11 Tax  Kendrick Carmouche Danny Gargan 15/1
12 By My Standards  Gabriel Saez W. Bret Calhoun 9/2
13 Night Ops  Javier Castellano Brad H. Cox 15/1
14 Improbable  Martin Garcia Bob Baffert 8/1

Chess Chief  enters off third-place finish (disqualified to sixth) in Grade 2 New Orleans Classic.  He’s one of many stalkers who will be vying for a coveted spot just off the pace, but he’s in solid form and has been training well. Chess Chief could find a spot on the board.

Trophy Chaser  enters off back-to-back wins. His most recently victory was in the Grade 3 Challenger Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs on March 7. He has shown improvement at age 4 while stretching out in distance and might be overlooked against a strong group here. He is moving up in class and will find the move a little too much.  

Bravazo  finish second in the 2018 Preakness. He has lost 14 straight since winning the 2018 Risen Star Stakes, and is unplaced in his last five races. He has faced top competition with a stretch of 10 consecutive starts in Grade 1 races during the losing skid. He needs to drop down in class to be competitive. He should not be a factor.

Mr Freeze  ran second in the Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup in his 2020 debut. He won the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Mile Feb. 29. He’s been freshened since that race and typically performs well when rested. He has finished in the top three in 10 of 11 starts on dirt with five wins and four seconds. He should finish in the top three.

Identifier won the Grade 3 Hal’s Hope Stakes at Gulfstream Park March 28 at this distance and is 2-for-2 in 2020. This improving 4-year-old but is out classed in this race. He should not be a factor. 

Warrior’s Charge has won four of his last five races. He should be the pace setter and be in front turning for home,. He has posted recent solid works .  He has a chance of finishing in the top five.

Combatant won his first stakes in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap March 7. He likes to stalk the pace and close down the lane.  He posted a bullet workout on April 26. He has a chance of finishing in the top four.

Sky Promise won the Temperence Hill Stakes on this main track March 13, but that was at 1 ½ miles on a sloppy track. He has two graded stakes wins, one each at Hastings and Northlands Park. He is not at this class level. He should not be a factor.

Tacitus enters off a fifth-place finish in the  $20 million Saudi Cup. He won the Wood Memorial Stakes last spring. He ran third in the Kentucky Derby, second in the Preakness and Travers Stakes, and third in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. He’s on a six-race winless stretch, but Tactus is almost always right there in the stretch. He should finish on the board. exacta/trifecta than to win.

Captivating Moon enters off a second to By My Standards in the Grade 2 New Orleans Classic on March 21. He needs to show significant improvement against this field. He has a chance of finishing in the top five.

Tax  needs to relax and settle into a comfortable stalking place behind the pace. He should be closing around the turn and pass tired horse down the lane. He has a chance of finishing in the top seven.

By My Standards last year won the  Louisiana Derby winner has shown improvement in 2020. He won the New Orleans Classic Stakes on March 21 and has post solid works leading up to this race. He should finish in the top three.

Night Ops  has three wins and never finishing out of the top three in five starts at Oaklawn. He  enters off back-to-back victories.  His outside post position plus the level of competition should be more than he can handle. 

Improbable  has speed and will need to use that speed to find an inside racing lane. His last graded stakes win came all the way back in December 2018 as a 2-year-old. He finished second in the Oaklawn Mile Stakes April 11 in season debut. He will finish in the top five.

J’s Top Three Picks:

  • Mr Freeze
  • Combatant
  • By My Standards

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