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Racing expert Sweet Lou Monaco gives us his picks for Thursday's eight race at Oaklawn Park

Oaklawn Park Race 8 - PICK: #1 Augie

#1, Augie, Fernando De La Cruz, 5-1

This will be his 24th career start today (2-12-3), yes a remarkable 12 runner-up finishes, including his last four and in two starts this year. Something has to turn around sooner or later. His last four runner-up finishes have all been in allowance races (Mahoning Valley, two at Turfway Park and his last at Oaklawn Park). This will be his ninth start at Oaklawn (0-4-2). He is looking for his first win since a maiden special weight race at Indiana Grand on May 8. Fernando De La Cruz is in the saddle for trainer Genaro Garcia.

Verdict: The pick.

#3, Star of Kodiak, Ricardo Santana, Jr., 3-1

This will be his 10th career start (2-2-2) as he is coming off a fifth-place finish in the Colonel Power Stakes at Fair Grounds on Feb. 15. Prior to his last start, he finished in the money in six straight starts. He is looking for his first win since an allowance race triumph at Keeneland on Oct. 19 and this will be his first start here. We will see how he likes the surface. Ricardo Santana, Jr. is aboard for trainer Christopher Davis.

Verdict: Runner-up.

#9, Strike That, David Cohen, 7-2

He is 2-for-2 in two career starts, including his last here in a starter allowance race by three lengths as the favorite. He took home a maiden claiming race win in his debut at Del Mar on Aug. 23. He did great coming off the long layoff, now let’s see how he does off of a much shorter one. David Cohen, who has the saddle last, returns for trainer Robertino Diodoro. He comes into the race perfect and don’t be surprised if he leaves perfect.

Verdict: Contender

#12, Jungle Warfare, Tyler Baze, 8-1

He has finished in the money in four of his last five starts (1-2-1). All 20 of his 21 career starts (2-8-8) have come in California, except for his last. In his first time on the Oaklawn Park surface, he finished second in an allowance optional claiming race on Feb. 1. He has a lot of experience with good results and fared well his first time out on this track and that should bode well for him today. Tyler Baze is in the saddle for trainer John Sadler.

Verdict: In the mix.

By Lou Monaco


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