When the March Madness picks are set each season, it's never surprising to see the Gonzaga Bulldogs on the shortlist of potential NCAA Tournament champions.
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2018 Sunland Park Oaks Odds, Picks
Sunland Park Oaks Preview and Odds
The Sunland Park Oaks awards Kentucky Oaks qualifying points on a 50-20-10-5 scale. Since none of the entries in the compact field of five are currently on the Oaks leaderboard, it's most likely only the winner will have the points needed to get into the strating gate for the May 4 Oaks at Churchill Downs. The deserving 4-5 morning line favorite for the Sunland Oaks is Maryland-bred Blamed for locally based trainer Joel Marr.
The daughter of 2010 Breeders' Cup Classic winner Blame, she's won four straight races since breaking her maiden in her second career start. The most recent of her last two wins both came at the stakes level on the Sunland track, and in the last of those, the Island Fashion Stakes at one mile, she set fairly quick early fractions and led every step of the way to win going away by more than six lengths. Prior to that she also went wire-to-wire and ran even faster, clicking off the first two quarter miles in times of 21:69 and 22:29 to eventually win by 4 1/2.
That's world-class speed, and she's clearly the one to beat here. Expect her to go right to the front again and dare the rest to try and catch up to her.
Kram Hopes to Turn the Tables on Rival
Lining up to take her on and breaking from the #1 post position is the runner-up in the Island Fashion, Kram (3-1). She fought hard through the first three-quarters of that race to press Blamed's front-running pace but couldn't keep up in the stretch drive, hitting the wire 1 1/4 lengths in front of the third-place runner. Expect her to be close to the pace again, but her connections are likely hoping someone else will challenge Blamed out of the gate, enabling jockey Rolmes Chirinos to save a bit in the tank for the final drive to the wire.
Some of that early speed could come from Charge Back (4-1) who will be making just her fourth career start and comes in off a win at the allowance level going seven furlongs at Sam Houston Race Park. Trained by Steve Asmussen, she won her very first race of her career and sports a record of two wins in three starts. She'll be trying stakes company for the first time, as well as stretching out in distance, but her breeding indicates more distance could actually be her friend.
There's not much to choose from between the other two runners in the field, both of whom took multilple tries to score thier first career win, but we'll give the nod to Bella Be Ready (10-1). She's been competitive in her last two at Sunland since moving east from southern California, running third in late January before getting her break through win one month ago. While in tough for the win, she has a chance to at least get a piece of the money if any of the front runners go too fast too soon and fade as they charge to the wire.
The Sunland Park Oaks goes Sunday, March 25 from Sunland Park in El Paso, Texas. It's race #6 of 12 on the day, with an expected post time of 2:44 PM Mountain.
Entries w/ ML Odds
- Kram (3-1)
- Charge Back (4-1)
- Bella Be Ready (10-1)
- Blamed (4-5)
- Exotic Beauty (8-1)
Sunland Oaks Picks
- 1) #4 - Blamed
- 2) #1 - Kram
- 3) #2 - Charge Back
- 4) #3 - Bella Be Ready
If a weekend trip to Texas to catch live racing isn't feasible, you can bet the Sunland Park Oaks, and all the qualifying races right up to the 2018 Kentucky Oaks with an account at Bovada's top-rated online racebook.
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