A competitive field of 13 will line up in Friday’s $1.25 million Kentucky Oaks (G1) including seven graded stakes winners led by the Todd Pletcher trained Malathaat.
The Robertino Diodoro trained Ava’s Grace (50-1) will be a scratch.
Malathaat was installed as the 5-2 morning line favorite. The filly is undefeated in four career starts, winning the Ashland (G1) at Keeneland in her last outing. The $1.05 million Keeneland purchase was making her first start as a three-year-old. She won her first three career starts in New York.
Pletcher has saddled the Oaks winner three times, with Ashado in 2004, Rags to Riches in 2007 and Princes of Sylmar in 2013. Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez will be in the irons.
There are co-second choices in the race at 3-1. The Brad Cox trained Travel Column is coming off a victory in the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2), her third win in five career starts. Her regular rider Florent Geroux will ride.
Cox won last year’s edition of the Oaks with Shesharesthedevil and saddled the 2018 winner Monomoy Girl. Cox will also send out 50-1 longshot Coach, who was third in the Fantasy (G3) at Oaklawn Park in her last start.
The Chad Brown trained Search Results is perfect in her three career starts. She won the Gazelle (G3) at Aqueduct in her last outing. Irad Ortiz Jr gets the return call for Brown.
Fair Grounds Oaks runner up Clairere figures to take some betting action for trainer Steve Asmussen. She is 5-1 on the morning line and won the Rachel Alexandra (G2) in her previous outing.
2021 Fair Grounds Oaks Replay
The Kentucky Oaks is the 11th race on the 13-race card on Friday. The NBC Sports Network has the action from Churchill Downs from 12:00 to 6:00 ET. “America’s Day at the Races” will be televised from 12:00 to 5:30 ET on FS2 with the action from Belmont Park and Oaklawn Park.
Over the next two days under the Twin Spires there will be 27 races including six stakes races on Friday and seven stakes on Saturday’s Kentucky Derby Day card.
TVG is offering up to a $10 cash back offer on the first win bet on every race on Friday’s card if the horse finishes second or third. For new players TVG is offering a $300 risk free wager.
My Best Plays Report for Friday includes my 10 strongest plays from Churchill Downs and Belmont Park and my full card reports for both Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby are now available.
Let’s head out to Churchill Downs for Friday’s featured race of the day:
Churchill Downs Race 11 The Kentucky Oaks G1 (5:51 ET)
#3 Clairere 5-1
#14 Millefeuille 20-1
#12 Search Results 3-1
#10 Malathaat 5-2
#6 Travel Column 3-1
The Asmussen trainee has landed in the exacta in all four of her career starts and now gets nine furlongs for the first time in her career. Last out in the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) she came with a five wide run but could not get to Travel Column who got the jump on her. She won the Rachel Alexandra (G2) two back beating hat foe by a neck. She looks capable of turning the tables here with the extra ground and she should see an honest pace in front of her. The Fair Grounds Oaks produced the winner of this race eight times including in 2019, 2014 and 2012. This gal is bred to handle the added ground. She is by Curlin out of the stakes winner Cavorting ($2 million) who was a three-time G1 winner.
This filly was my top pick in the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) as I thought she would bounce back of a poor outing in the Davona Dale (G2) two back where she was beaten 21 3/4 lengths. She did bounce back with a solid effort, got to the lead in the stretch but could not hold off Crazy Beautiful and had to settle for the runner up spot. She was a game second in the Demoiselle (G2) at nine furlongs last December at Aqueduct, beaten 3/4 of a length by the morning line favorite in here. She can handle the extra ground and she could be sitting on a big one here in her third start of her current form cycle for the Bill Mott barn that has been on a nice roll in 2021, winning at a 27% clip overall. She is going to be a generous price in this spot.
The daughter of Flatter invades from New York for the Chad Brown barn. She is perfect in three starts, winning the Gazelle (G3) last out in her first trip at nine furlongs. She prompted the early pace, took command and drew clear to win by 2 3/4 lengths as the chalk. Two back in the Busher Invitational she chased the early pace while down along a dead inside and got up to win by a half-length. The runner up and fifth place finisher came out of that race to win allowance races in their next starts. She earned solid numbers in her last two starts and while she faces a much better group here she looks up to it.
WIN: Clairere to win at 4-1 or better.
EXACTA: 3 / 6,10,12,14 and 3,14 / 3,12,14