Friday has a full slate of horse racing on the docket with 14 racecourses available for wagering. There are only a couple of small stakes races in the US, both at Turfway Park worth $100,000 and $65,000. The big stakes racing will be turned up several notches on Saturday with at least 22 stakes races expected. Oaklawn Park has a $750,000 and $600,000 race, but the most highly anticipated is the $300,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes (Gr. 2) at Gulfstream Park.
50 points will go to the winning team to put towards the Kentucky Derby. That should be enough for an automatic ticket to an invite to the Kentucky Derby in May. Note that 20 horses are permitted to arrive at the starting gate for the Derby. It depends on what other horses do, but 50 points is usually good to get in. There is going to be nothing like that on Friday, but certainly more than enough ponies to handicap.
We are going to open the day in Arkansas at Oaklawn Park, which is the home of the $750,000 Southwest Stakes (Gr. 3) and $600,000 Razorback Handicap (Gr. 3) on Saturday. Today is a warm-up day at Oaklawn Park, with $380,500 in prize money spread across nine races on the dirt. Head below for our free Oaklawn Park picks for February 26, 2021.
Post Time: 3:06 p.m. CST
Distance:1 1/16 Miles
We will get started at Oaklawn Park with Race 5, a $28,500 event covering 1 1/16 miles on the dirt. There are ten horses scheduled to participate in Race 5, with Southern Cents and Tonal Vision likely front runners in the stretch. Southern Cents should be a hot commodity from the outside.
She has been in consistent form with top-3 finishes in four straight performances. In five of her previous six races, she’s gone top-3 and is coming off a productive outing on February 7. Southern Cents earned some of the purse with a 2nd place effort. She placed 2nd behind Forevernoa by 2 ½ lengths in the $27,000 assignment.
Forevernoa just never faded away in that race like Southern Cent’s team were hoping. Tonal Vision is a two-time winner in ten assignments. In her previous four outings, Tonal Vision has finished 1st, 3rd, 4th, 4th in her last four performances. She won on October 7 over Flower House by 2 ¼ lengths in a $25,000 race, and then faltered in the next three.
Tonal Vision finished 4th in her most recent race on January 31, but is moving way down in class for this entry. That was a $84,000 event that Tonal Vision finished 4th in. This is all way down the class scale to a $28,500 assignment on Friday at Oaklawn. She’s had success in this class in the past, and should feel much more comfortable on these terms.
Post Time: 3:38 p.m. CST
In our second selection at Oaklawn Park, we’ll make a stop for Race 6 right after Tonal Vision hopefully wins. Top Gunner and Long Term Thinking should run well in the stretch run in this event. Top Gunner has finished 6th and 3rd in his career, showing 3rd in his most recent start for nice improvement.
He finished 3rd on December 20 in a $28,000 assignment to indicate an improvement in form after 6th in his debut. The key to Top Gunner winning this race is to continue to show improvement. If he can do that then a win is going to be within reach. Top Gunner looked promising in a recent workout on February 5 with a time of 1:00.40 at 4 furlongs.
Long Term Thinking is winless in eight starts, but has consistently been close to striking. In eight performances, Long Term Term Thinking has finished top-2 in seven and top-3 in every outing. It’s just bad luck keeping Long Term Thinking out of the winner’s circle. Eventually he is going to break through for a win.
In his most recent outings, Long Term Thinking placed 2nd behind War Detonator by ¾ lengths in a $29,500 event on November 20 at Churchill Downs. Long Term Thinking placed 2nd behind Pintxos by a neck in a $30,000 event on January 24. He looked sharp in a workout on February 6 with a time of 49 seconds at 4 furlongs.
Post Time: 9:16 p.m. EST
Race 8 is a mile event for a $36,000 prize on the dirt. Ten horses are expected to participate in the race, with Jalen Journey and Seven Nation Army in nice form recently. Jalen Journey is coming off back-to-back wins and in search of a hat-trick at Oaklawn Park on Friday.
Overall, he has a 50% success rate with 5 for 10 in his career, including a win on November 20 and January 23. In the November win, Jalen Journey defeated Boyfriend Material by 2 ¼ lengths in a $43,500 outing, and then followed up for another win in a $50,000 event over Town Champ by 3 ¼ lengths on January 23.
With stakes experience to his name as well, this $500,000 horse has to be considered in the stretch. Seven Nation Army is 7 for 24 and has finished top-3 in five straight performances, including top-2 in four of five performances. In his most recent victory, Seven Nation Army beat Hollis by a head in a $95,000 assignment.
He is coming off a stakes run in the $150,000 King Cotton Stakes and did pretty well. Seven Nation Army finished 1 length back of a win in that assignment. He’s produced a speed rating more than 100 in five straight starts. I’m going to support Seven Nation Army in Race 8, though will have to deal with company from Jalen Journey and possibly Strike That.