Expert Pick of the Week: Oaklawn Stakes

Apr 09, 2020 John Mucciolo/

A total of 13 sophomores will travel 9 panels in Saturday’s $200,000 Oaklawn S. The feature on a big day of racing in Hot Springs offers a starting slot in the Arkansas Derby (G1) on May 2 to the top-three finishers. In addition, if the winner of the Oaklawn is nominated to the Triple Crown, he will also receive a berth in the Preakness (G1).

The Oaklawn is a wide-open race with a bevy of contenders in the cast, and I will swing for the fences in the ultra-competitive event. Risen Star (G2) fifth Mr. Big News is the 30-1 longest shot in the field on the morning line, but I think he will outrun his odds and then some on Saturday. He is the Expert Pick of the Week. 
Conditioned by Bret Calhoun, the sophomore colt has taken some time to develop but is trending in the right direction. The son of Giant’s Causeway broke his maiden while making his seasonal debut two races back, and the Kentucky-bred ran well in his initial stakes venture in the second Risen Star division last time out. 
At Fair Grounds on Feb. 15, the bay colt ran evenly throughout in a solid field to be beaten by just four lengths at 44-1 odds. The $95,000 yearling purchase hasn’t missed a beat since while posting six solid morning drills in preparation of Saturday. 
Mr. Big News has improved his Brisnet Speed figure in every lifetime performance, and he is bred to run all day as well. The colt is from a superb female family and will only improve with more seasoning. 
The top pick draws well to save ground from the opening bell, and he also receives what could be a positive pilot change to Gabriel Saez for his first try on the Oaklawn surface. In a field with considerable pace in the fold, Mr. Big News will be running at some tired legs in the stretch on Saturday.
Expert Pick

Mr. Big News upsetting the Oaklawn Stakes at a huge price is the Best Bet of the Week.
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