HomeHorse RacingHorse Racing Best Bets from Oaklawn - February 24

    Horse Racing Best Bets from Oaklawn – February 24

    Veteran handicapper Mike Somich offers his Oaklawn best bets for Saturday, February 24.


    Oaklawn Best Bets

    Another horse racing weekend, another Derby prep! This time, we are headed to Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas, for a 12-race card that features the Rebel and a field of thirteen three-year-olds all looking to earn their way into the Kentucky Derby starting gate. The overall card features an abundance of stakes races, and the weather is slated to be perfect! Let’s take a look at my Oaklwan best bets.

    The Rebel, Oaklawn, Race #11


    Even with thirteen horses, there is a lot to prove heading into the Rebel. None of these horses have won a stakes race in 2024, and only your morning line favorite, #7 Timberlake, did so at two. The key to this race, like many others, will be the favorite. Due to the lack of resume of the rest of the main contenders, it makes sense that he is a short price in this race, but there are question marks surrounding him as well. I did not think he was a horse who would stretch out well when I saw him run at Saratoga, and while he won at a Mile at two, he struggled in the Breeders Cup at 1 1/16th mile. Compound that with the fact that the Juvenile has not come back as a very strong race, and this will be his first race in four months, this is a short price that I just cannot back.

    Let’s take a major swing here and look to the 15-1 shot on the rail, #1 Carbone. He looked like the real deal in his first two career races before faltering last time out in the Southwest. I am willing to give him a pass for that effort due to the sloppy conditions of the track. Drawing the 1 post should help him since the first turn will come quickly, and he will look to take this field gate to wire.

    The second choice on the morning line, #11 Just Steel, is a hard-trying colt that seems to struggle to win. This will already be the sixth stakes race of his career, and numbers-wise, he fits with this bunch. However, I will still be surprised if he wins. He has seemed to stall from an improvement perspective, and it’s logical to expect someone to jump up and get him here.

    #6 Dimatic is one of those horses that will be looking to take a step forward to compete here. The setup should be good, there is enough pace to chase for him, and Gaffalione takes the mount for trainer Steve Asmussen. He is bred to love the distance and has gotten better with each start.

    The wildcard that intrigues me is all the way to the outside, #13 Time for Truth. Working against him is the big step up in class and the added distance, but this is a horse who is very fast early, has looked awesome in both starts and is bred to handle two turns. The post is rough, but the price is right at 15-1.

    Picks: 1-11-6-13

    Oaklawn Best Bets:
    $50 Win – #1
    $5 Tri – 1,6 / 1,6,11,13 / 1,6,11,13

    The Honeybee, Oaklawn, Race #9

    The fillies take the stage two races before the boys to compete for Kentucky Oaks, and our old friend #6 West Omaha is back after scratching last week at Fair Grounds. Line will break from the gate a deserving favorite in this race with the best overall number and the best current form, but there is still money to be made if she does cross the line first.

    The second choice in the race is the #2 Band of Gold, who won last time out in the local prep for this race at 24-1. Today, she is 2-1 on the morning line. I missed the wedding (24-1 win) and have no interest attending the funeral here with a horse that is just way too short of a number based off a single race that was run in the slop.

    Let’s go price hunting with #4 Neom Beach. She pressed the pace in the Martha Washington that Band of Gold won before fading for third. That was just as impressive as the winner since she did all the heavy lifting early. She should get less pressure early, which will give her more punch late. She also had shown that level of talent before the race, where Band of Gold took a massive step up.

    The horse on the rail, #1 Alys Beach, has not been seen since the Breeders’ Cup, but was highly thought of last year. If she can revert to her stalking style, she should get a nice run at the leaders around the turn.

    Picks: 6-4-1-2

    Oaklawn Best Bets:
    $25 Exacta 6 /1,4
    $10 Trifecta 6 / 1,4 / 1,4

    Spot plays:
    Oaklawn Race #8 – $50 Win #7
    Oaklawn Race #3 – $50 Win #3

    Mike Somich
    Mike Somich
    Mike Somich is the host of the Handle on weekends for VSiN. He brings over 20 years of gambling experience including playing poker professionally, multiple $75,000 horse racing tournament scores and years of betting sports. He currently focuses on the NFL, NHL and College Basketball.

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