By Andrew Champagne
Saturday’s eight-race card at Pleasanton is headlined by the Oak Tree Sprint, which also stands out in a strong late Pick Four sequence that begins in the fifth race of the program. I’ll look to take it down with a $10 ticket, and here’s how I’ve constructed it.
RACE #5: We’ll kick things off with a maiden claiming event for fillies and mares. I’ve got a single here, and I don’t think she’ll be anywhere near the 12-1 morning line price.
#1 WITH THATBEINGSAID raced fairly well when third in her debut at Golden Gate. She made an early move that day after breaking last and was probably left with too much to do. The Jonathan Wong trainee is certainly eligible to improve at second asking, and she’ll run up against a field of opponents that have had plenty of chances. I’ll gamble that With Thatbeingsaid is sitting on a bigger race, and if she’s right, I think she’s going to be tough.
RACE #6: This allowance race has drawn some of the top routers on the Northern California circuit. I’m going two-deep, and my top pick seems to have really figured things out of late.
It took #2 UNION DANCE a while to break his maiden, but all five of his lifetime wins have come in his last eight starts. His win streak was snapped last month at Golden Gate, but I like that he has a win over a dirt course and I certainly think he could sit a perfect stalking trip just off the pace.
That pace, by the way, figures to be set by #1 DIAMOND BLITZ, who I’m also using. His game plan is no secret. He wants to go as fast as he can, for as long as he can. It’s unclear if his synthetic form can translate to dirt, but if the Pleasanton oval is playing kindly to early speed, he’s the one who will likely benefit.
RACE #7: This is the Saturday feature, and it’s attracted a field of seven runners. A Southern California invader figures to be favored, and I’m using him, but there’s another that is on my ticket as well.
#6 LAW ABIDIN CITIZEN has tangled with some of the fastest horses on the West Coast. He was third in the Grade 1 Bing Crosby last summer at Del Mar, and this is his second start off a long layoff. At his best, he’s one of the better sprinters in California, and if he’s ready to roll, he’ll be tough to beat.
#2 ANYPORTINASTORM, meanwhile, lost a head-bob to Law Abidin Citizen when they met back in the 2019 Longacres Mile. His last-out effort going long was too poor to be true, and this sprint distance should hit him right between the eyes. He won this race last year, and a similar effort should put him right there.
RACE #8: We’ll finish things off with an allowance race, and I’m against the morning line favorite (who I think will take some money in a wide-open event). #5 JEANNE B did win here last week, but I just don’t think she beat much, and this field came up a bit salty for the level. I’m going five-deep, and I did not use her.
#9 GO SMILEY GO is my top pick. Her last-out effort at Santa Anita is an obvious throw-out, and her form before that was quite good. She’s hit the board in 25 of 37 career starts, she’s run well on dirt in the past, and she’s got enough speed to be prominent throughout.
#1 MUNN SHE’S PRETTY, #3 LIAM’S SECRET, #4 CHIEFTAIN’S LADY, and #6 WARM SUMMER are also on my ticket. If you want to hit the “ALL” button here, I understand, as it’s a competitive race. However, I narrowed it to a five-horse group in an attempt to keep the ticket cost low, and I sincerely hope I’ve gone deep enough!
20 Bets, $10