Saturday March 8 – Oaklawn
Scheduled post time 3:39pm CT
The Honeybee stakes is the sixth race at Oaklawn on Saturday, and the headliner, without question, is (2) Taris. This three-year-old filly is 2-for-2, both by open lengths. There is no question that this daughter of Flatter is blazingly fast. But to me, a horse like this is a horse to try to beat. She’s going long for the first time, she’s never been pressed before, and she’ll be heavily favored. There’s really no way to know for sure how she’ll like the distance. Her Pedigree Rating for this dirt route is an unspectacular 74.
So why bet on her at prohibitively low odds? She may be the speed of the speed here, but there IS other speed, and Pace Projector predicts a fast pace. Let’s hope we can find someone to catch her.
(1) Please Explain is a closer who loves the distance. She has to be considered here because with her inside post and so much speed in this race, she’s almost guaranteed to get a relaxing trip. Her figures aren’t spectacular, but she finishes every single race off. In her last start, she powered to a decisive win despite following relatively slow fractions. Nice filly who could definitely outrun her figures and beat the favorite if that one comes up a little short at the distance.
But the interesting value might be 20-1 ML shot (3) Silk Purse. Although she has not gone long yet, and she might not be a true distance horse, she does have a Pedigree Rating of 100 (the maximum), and she showed a lot of grit in her last race, beating Springsteen Road, who is in this race and has since come back to win. She figures to be well situated, off a duel, but not too far back. Not a horse to place a big win bet on, but perhaps one to throw on a ticket.
(11) Sugar Shack might be the real toss-out at 6-1. Post 11 is tough enough, but she looks as if she’d want the lead going long, and she isn’t going to get it. How is she possibly going to win?
Speaking of having the lead going long, that’s just what (6) Euphrosyne has been doing in her last three starts. It’s doubtful she can outsprint Taris early–and if she does, the pace would be legitimately suicidal. If she doesn’t, she can win only by coming from behind, something she has never done. The fact that she has gone long successfully in the past is a point in her favor, but this tactical issue pretty much nullifies it.
(9) Ireland looks like the other valid closer. She earned a very legit 98 breaking her maiden at a mile, and followed that up with a solid effort in which she finished just behind Euphrosyne. Unlike Euphrosyne, nothing today regarding the pace situation will be problematic for her, and she is a far better proposition than that foe.
(10) Dream Spinner parlayed a trainer change into an enormous 13-length win at a mile-and-a-sixteenth last start, earning a 95. But she, too, did it on the front end. If she proves capable of changing tactics and sitting off the pace (something she has been able to do at shorter distances), she might be a threat here.
The aforementioned (5) Springsteen Road has some good figures, but she just looks like a sprinter on paper. The rest of the field appears overmatched.
So how do you bet this race? Do you just pitch Taris and hope she’s no good? That’s one valid way to play the race; you just have to face the reality that you’ll probably lose, so you shouldn’t make a big bet if you play it that way. Play a small amount and hope for a big score.
The other option is to use Taris, but only as an equal component of a box. That way, if you’re right about the other horses to use, you can break even or pick up a few shekels even if she wins or hits the board, but you can crush the race if she doesn’t. A reasonable box here that includes Taris might be a $1 tri or super box 1-2-3-9-10.