While the boys are getting most of the attention this week, Friday’s $1 million Kentucky Oaks (G1) for three-year-old fillies is lining up to be one of the best wagering races coming up over the next couple of days at Churchill Downs.
The Oaks anchors an outstanding 12-race card under the Twin Spires that gets underway at 10:30 am ET on Friday. There are five supporting graded stakes on tap.
A full field of 14 will line up in the Oaks, with Santa Anita Oaks (G1) winner Stellar Wind the 7-2 morning line favorite. The Bob Baffert trainee has won three of her four career starts and will have Victor Espinoza aboard. The trainer and jockey will team up on Saturday with American Pharoah, the morning line favorite for the Kentucky Derby (G1).
The Oaks drew a stellar field, no pun intended, that includes Gazelle (G2) winner Condo Commando, Ashland (G1) winner Lovely Maria and Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) winner I’m’ a Chatterbox.
Both Lovely Maria and I’m a Chatterbox are trained by Larry Jones, who won the Oaks in 2012 with Believe You Can and Proud Spell in 2008.
The stakes action gets underway in the sixth race on Friday with the $150,000 Edgewood (G3), followed by the $300,000 La Troienne (G1), $400,000 Alysheba (G2), $150,000 Twin Spires Turf Sprint (G3) and the $200,000 Eight Belles (G3).
Check out the Kentucky Derby guide at Odds Shark for the latest betting odds.
My Kentucky Oaks Day Report is now available. The report includes my selections, analysis, fair odds line and wagering recommendations on the entire 12-race card.
Let’s head out to Churchill Downs for Friday’s featured race of the day:
Churchill Downs Race 11 The Kentucky Oaks G1 (Post time 5:49 ET)
8 I’m a Chatterbox 4-1
1 Forever Unbridled 15-1
7 Lovely Maria 5-1
12 Stellar Wind 7-2
Analysis: I’m a Chatterbox gets the call in a wide-open edition of the Oaks. The filly swept the three Oaks preps at Fair Grounds, winning the Silverbulletday, Rachel Alexandra (G3) and Fair Grounds Oaks (G2). Going back two decades seven Oaks wins have used the Fair Grounds Oaks as a prep race. The filly has shown an ability to come from off the pace or win gate to wire, and there is plenty of speed in here and a tracking trip should set things up nicely for her. The Larry Jones barn has won this race twice, with Believe You Can in 2012 and Proud Spell in 2008.
Forever Unbridled has finished behind our top pick in her last three starts a second and a couple of thirds. She weakened in the stretch after tracking the early pace last out in the Fair Grounds Oaks, beaten 3 1/2 lengths. She has enough pedigree to handle her first trip at nine furlongs, by Unbrided’s Song out of a Lemon Drop Kid mare. Trainer Dallas Stewart won this race with Lemons Forever in 2006, the filly paying $96.20. This filly is going to be a generous price.
Lovely Maria is also sent out by the Jones barn and she is coming in off a sharp win in the Ashland (G1) at Keeneland in her last outing. She ran a decent second two back behind our top pick in the Rachel Alexandra, beaten 2 1/2 lengths for the top spot. She is coming off a career top speed fig and looks capable of handling the extra ground here.
WIN: #8 to win at 7-2 or better.
EX: 1,8 / 1,7,8,12
TRI: 1,8 / 1,7,8,12 / 1,7,8,12,13
Michael’s Triple Crown Package includes his full card reports for the three jewels of this year’s Triple Crown! Included in this package is his full card report for Kentucky Derby Day, Preakness Day and Belmont Stakes Day. BONUS: This package also includes his Kentucky Oaks Day Report!