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Sweet Lou Monaco's picks are in, find out who he's backing in Thursday's eighth race at Oaklawn Park

Race 8 Oaklawn Park - PICKS: 5-1-3-4

Hopefully we will have clear vision today as we head to Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas for an $80,000 allowance optional claiming race (purse: $86,000) for 3-year-old fillies over six furlongs on the dirt.

The short field of 5 will go to gate for race 8 on the 9-race card with an approximate post time of 5:42 p.m. ET.

#5, Kiss the Girl, Ricardo Santana, Jr., 2-1 - Kiss the Girl looks to make amends for a disappointing sixth-place in an allowance optional claiming race here on Jan 24, her first time on the track. A start prior, she finished second in the Grade 3 Schuylerville Stakes at Saratoga on July 11, so I think I’m throwing her last start out due to the layoff. She won her debut in a maiden special weight race at Belmont Park on June 12 over today’s morning-line favorite Sweet Kisses and I think trainer Steve Asmussen will have her back to where she was. Ricardo Santana, Jr. is aboard. The pick.

#1, Sweet Kisses, David Cohen, 7-5 - This will be Sweet Kisses’ fifth career start (1-1-1) and is coming off a third-place finish in the $75,000 Letellier Memorial States on Dec. 21 at Fair Grounds. Her first win was in a maiden special weight race by 2 ¼ lengths at Saratoga on July 19. Who dis she beat that day? Finite, who has since won four stakes, including the Grade 2 Rachel Alexandra last Saturday at Fair Grounds. David Cohen is in the saddle for trainer Jeremiah Englehart. Definitely in the mix. Runner-up.

#3, Raggedy Annie, Alex Canchari, 3-1 - Raggedy Annie has finished in the money in her last two starts, including a runner-up finish, 5 ¼ lengths behind Ring Leader in an allowance optional claiming race in her first start here on Jan. 24. In a start prior, she won her first race of her career in a maiden claiming race by 1 ¼ lengths after being checked at the 3/8th pole at Churchill Downs on Nov. 23. Alex Canchari returns to the saddle for trainer D. Wayne Lukas. Contender.

#4, Elite Song, Orlando Mojica, 9-2 - In five starts, she is 1-1-1 (all at Woodbine) and in her last and first start here, she finished third in an allowance optional claiming race on Jan. 24. I like that the first time over the track she handled it well coming down from Canada. She looks for her first win since her debut in a maiden claiming race on Sept. 11. Orlando Mojica is in the saddle for trainer Norman McKnight. In the mix.

By Lou Monaco


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