2023 Oaklawn Mile Odds, Field & Betting Pick

Last year’s Kentucky Derby hopeful Smile Happy reappears in the 2023 Oaklawn Mile and looks to build on his recent reappearance win and go two from two here at Oaklawn Park.

Oaklawn Mile

Grade 3 – Purse $400,000 – 1 mile – Dirt – 4-Year-Olds and Up

This race looks to revolve around the inside gate Smile Happy at 9/5, and the outside gate, with Hopper 7/5 the marginal chalk on the morning line.

Smile Happy took a huge class drop from his run in last year’s Kentucky Derby to come back from a lay in a $50k Optional Claimer here at Oaklawn Park, and produce a career-best Beyer figure of 101.

That came after a ten-month layoff, so it was no surprise to see him look a little rusty. Current drills have been strong, and being he is so lightly raced, there must still be improvement to come.

Hopper is another lightly raced four-year-old with just five runs so far. He won the Grade 2 San Pasqual Stakes at Santa Anita on his first run of the year and finished in fourth spot in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap last time. He gets class relief and a cut back in trip, and he’ll aim to get on the speed and go gate to wire.

The others have a tough task but Caddo River 4/1 and the longshot Necker Island 15/1 look interesting.

Caddo River finished second in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby back in 2021 so has plenty of back form and he was a winner last time in calmer waters. This is tougher, but the cutback in distance gives some upside.

Necker Island is worth a second glance after finishing fourth in this race last year. He was only beaten four lengths in the Grade 2 Phoenix Stakes three back and could be interesting at longer odds.

2023 Oaklawn Mile Odds & Betting Picks

Smile HappyFrancisco Arrieta+150
Necker IslandMitchell Murrill+1500
Hero StatusCristian A. Torres+1200
Silver ProspectorTyler Gaffalione+800
Caddo RiverRicardo Santana, Jr.+400
AtokaMickaelle Michel+2000
HopperJohn R. Velazquez+140

Hopper will be a tough nut to crack, especially as he will get the speed position he needs. This shorter distance looks to give him an ideal set up and he should hit the board.

However, we like the chances of SMILE HAPPY who threatened to be something special last year before being laid off. His run against Epicenter in the Grade 2 Risen Star is by far the best piece of form here, and he’ll be sharper for his recent return.

Caddo River and Necker Island should be fighting for a slice underneath.

Temperence Hill S.

Stakes – Purse $150,000 – 1 1/2 miles – Dirt – 4-Year-Olds And Upwards

Lone Rock looks to win this race for the second successive year and defeat his old rival and class dropper Warrant who found Grade 1 company too much in The Santa Anita Handicap last time.

A race over the marathon trip and we have a small but select field.

The Brad Cox trained Warrant is our starting point, and after an easy win two back in an $80k Optional Claimer, it came as no surprise he found Grade 1 foes too hot to handle last time. He had previously hit the board in the Grade 2 Brooklyn Stakes at Belmont and that piece of form is solid and he should hit the board.

Lone Rock was third in that Grade 2 and just three-quarters of a length behind Warrant. He does look the stronger stayer of the two having won the previous year’s Brooklyn Stakes by 11 lengths. He has also won over further and he could well attempt to go gate to wire here.

Mystic Night looks outclassed and it will be interesting to see if Calibrate improves for the stretch-out in distance, and along with Strong Tide and Full Charge, both of whom have won here at Oaklawn Park, have solid chances to hit the board in a tight contest.

We like the chances of Calibrate to take a step forward over this distance and he could well pose a serious threat to the likely chalk, last year’s winner Lone Rock

Temperence Hill Stakes Odds & Betting Prediction

Mystic NightDavid Cabrera+1200
Full ChargeIsaac Castillo+600
Strong TideRicardo Santana, Jr.+300
WarrantFlavien Prat+200
CalibrateFrancisco Arrieta+1500
Lone RockRamon A. Vazquez+160

Warrant looks sure to make a bold bid here now tackling calmer waters but there is a question mark over this mile-and-a-half marathon trip. He certainly has the class but will he be able to see off some proven stayers here? He should hit the board though.

Our main selection is last year’s winner LONE ROCK who looks to have been prepared for a repeat win and he can reverse form with Warrant on their last run together.

It is a tight contest and Calibrate and Full Charge can be battling for the show spot.

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