Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: Oaklawn – Feature Races – Saturday 18 April 2020

Oaklawn – Feature Races – Saturday 18 April 2020

Neil Morrice brings us his best bets for Saturday's two exciting feature races at Oaklawn Park.

Two very exciting features await Oaklawn Park punters and pundits alike, this Saturday 18th April 2020. Supported by the Grade 3 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap, the main event on the card is the Grade 1 APPLE BLOSSOM STAKES for a prize pot of $600 000 US. With previous winners including the likes of superstar mare Zenyatta, there is a huge amount of prestige that goes along with the lion’s share of the prize money and with this year’s affair appearing to offer a lot of class, it should be an entertaining test. More here.

Neil Morrice Tips

Race 8 – COUNT FLEET SPRINT – Grade 3 ($350,000) - 1200m

The first of two features remembers a Kentucky Derby winner but here the emphasis is on pure speed and WHITMORE brings that to the table in bundles under Joe Talamo. The 5-2 Morning Line favourite lines up in a field of older sprinters who are targeting the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Keeneland in early November. WHITMORE has strutted his stuff on his last two outings over track and trip, making up for a narrow defeat in a Stakes race in early February, by taking home a $150,000 contest. As much as WHITMORE needs respecting, the claims of FLAGSTAFF are marginally preferred. The John Sadler-trained gelding took out a race at the Breeders’ Cup and has done nothing wrong since returning to the fray, landing the Grade 2 San Carlos Stakes at Santa Anita from Santa Anita Derby winner Roadster. Interestingly he’s been a heavily-bet favourite on each of his last three starts. HIDDEN SCROLL is the type of improving four-year-old that Bill Mott excels with, and after a pleasing workout at Payson Park, he’s all set to make a good fist of following up a comeback success in an Allowance Optional Claimer at Gulfstream. He rates to get into the money, but FLAGSTAFF is the one to beat.

Prediction: 2-9-7

Race 10 – APPLE BLOSSOM STAKES (Grade 1) ($600,000) – 1700m

Check out the 2010 running of the Apple Blossom Handicap, a race that Zenyatta, piloted by Mike Smith, won brilliantly!

Legendary handler Wayne Lukas has his eyes on this concluding prize, one of the top races of the year for older females, with COME DANCING who was last seen at the Santa Anita Breeders’ Cup back in November. A race won by the likes of the brilliant Zenyatta in the recent past has drawn contenders from all corners of the US and other Grade 1 winners in the field number Ce Ce, Ollie’s Candy, Serengeti Empress and Street Band. COME DANCING stretches out around two turns for the first time and is drawn inside SERENGETI EMPRESS in post 4. She’s a winner at a mile and a sixteenth at Belmont and shouldn’t find the extra a problem, as Lukas figures to have her near fully tuned up for her first step back on the road to Keeneland in the fall.

Beholder Mile winner CE CE breaks from the outside post (14) under Victor Espinosa which for a filly that likes to lead is far from ideal. Trainer Michael McCarthy is hoping for a clean break and that his charge can still get competitive by not losing too much ground going into the first turn.

SERENGETI EMPRESS clocked a career best Baeyer speed figure of 101 when wiring the Grade 2 Azeri here on a sloppy track on the same day, March 14. But she’s another that likes to lead and it won’t be easy breaking from gate 11, with COME DANCING the more likely to assume early command.

OLLIE’S CANDY has work to do with CE CE from the Beholder Mile and the same applies to STREET BAND who finished fourth behind SERENGETI EMPRESS in the Azeri.

Prediction: 3-11-14

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