We’re back on Sunday after finding a lot of success at Gulfstream Park on Pegasus Day in Hallandale Beach. We swept the board, including winning the $1,000,000 Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational and $3,000,000 Pegasus World Cup Invitational. That Knicks Go is one impressive horse and could have one by more than 2 ½ lengths, but geared down near the wire and let up. Knicks Go was much the best and deserved to head to the winner’s circle and be awarded with the top prize.
If Charlatan ran in that race, things would have been a lot more interesting, though. We will see Charlatan in the Saudi Cup next month in Saudi Arabia. That’s a $20,000,000 race, the richest in racing. There isn’t anything on the docket that compares to the Pegasus World Cup on Sunday. Santa Anita Park and Aqueduct Racetrack each have a $100,000 race, but that’s all when it comes to stakes racing on Sunday. That doesn’t mean we can’t cash in with winners, though.
BetOnline has at least nice racecourses operating on Sunday. If you plan on attending any, be sure to check with them regarding healthy and safety protocols. Some are still racing without fans. We will open the day at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Oaklawn has nine races on the slate worth a total of $484,000 in prize money available. Head below for our free Oaklawn Park picks for January 24, 2021.
Post Time: 2:02 p.m. CST
We will get going at Oaklawn Park with Race 3. Race 3 is a mile event for a $82,000 purse. Smarmy and Willful Woman are on my shortlist to get the win in this event. Smarmy is in good form at the moment and should run well on Sunday. She looked good as a first-time runner on November 10 in a $31,000 event.
Smarmy placed 2nd behind Gulf Coast by a half length. This is a $700,000 horse expected to have a really nice career. As a rookie, Smarmy was expected to win as the favorite, but was caught after leading for the first half of the race. I wouldn’t read too far into the loss. Smarmy has the talent to run a lot better than that. Willful Woman has appeared in two races in her career and did well to show 3rd in each.
As a first-time runner, Willful Woman showed 3rd in a $70,000 assignment on October 17, and then did the same in a $85,000 assignment on November 28. This is another expensive horse, $400,000, that is expected to have a successful career. Before we start seeing something from Smarmy in higher classes like this, she’s a hard gamble. I will put my support behind Willful Woman in Race 3.
Post Time: 3:38 p.m. CST
Race 6 is a $30,000 event covering 6 furlongs on the main track. Niles Channel and Long Term Thinking are horses to watch in this one. Niles Channel is coming on strong and has placed 2nd in back-to-back outings going into Sunday. Prior to that race, Niles Channel has finished 5th, 8th, 4th leading into this race. Niles Channel is winless in seven attempts with three outings placing in the top-2.
In his last two, Niles Channel placed 2nd behind Nau Nau by 1 ¼ lengths in a $28,500 event at Churchill Downs. Niles Channel followed up to place 2nd behind Tactician by 1 length for a $29,000 prize. The form has been pointing in the right direction for Niles Channel. Eventually he is going to strike and it could happen today. Long Term Thinking could block Niles Channel from winning here.
Long Term Thinking is winless in seven assignments as well. However, Long Term Thinking has placed 2nd in six out of seven races and top-3 in all entries. It has to be frustrating for this $175,000 Clark Brewster owned thoroughbred getting that close continually, but he’ll break through soon.
Long Term Thinking placed 2nd behind War Detonator by ¾ lengths in a $29,500 assignment on November 20 in his most recent showing. He looked good in his last tune-up for Sunday recently. Long Term Thinking completed 4 furlongs in 49.60 seconds on January 15. Long Term Thinking has to strike soon, and it could come on Sunday afternoon.
Post Time: 4:40 p.m. CST
In our final selection at Oaklawn Park, we land in Race 8, a 6-furlong outing for a $84,000 purse. Inject and Abrogate are potential winners in this one. Inject has a win in four attempts. She won as a first-time runner on August 15 over Quick Munny by 6 lengths in a $46,200 assignment. Since then, Inject has gone 8th, 4th, 2nd in three straight performances. ‘
Inject placed 2nd behind Charlie’s Penny by 2 ¼ lengths most recently on November 28 at Churchill Downs in a $87,000 event. This is an assignment that she can most certainly handle. Expect Inject to run close with Abrogate there as well. Abrogate and Inject are likely both going to be close at the wire.
Abrogate will be making her sophomore run on Sunday after winning as a first-time runner on November 12. She defeated Zoom Up by 6 lengths in a $85,000 event. That was too easy with Abrogate winning as a wire-to-wire horse. She stays in the same class, though, and should be able to control this arce as well.
Abrogate looked good in a recent workout, with a time of 1:00.80 at 5 furlongs. The $270,000 Abrogate might have to show a little more fight in this one than her debut, as I believe Inject can pressure her, but expect Abrogate to repeat as a winner to open her career.