Kentucky Oaks Preview and Best Bets
Before we get down to business on Saturday the top 3 yr old fillies in the country will show their stuff Friday in the 136th Kentucky Oaks. We have been very lucky in the past 10 years being able to watch some of the most talented fillies to ever put on a saddle in this race. Just last year we saw Rachel Alexandra put on a show in one of the most impressive races in racing history winning the Oaks by more then 20 lengths.
After the Oaks she went on to beat the 3 yr old colts two weeks later in the Preakness then went on to complete arguably the most impressive campaign ever. She beat the colts two more times dominating 3 yr olds in the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park and against older colts in the Woodward at Belmont Park on her way to an Eclipse Award for Horse of the Year.
In 2007 the Todd Pletcher trained filly Rags to Riches won the Oaks by 4 1/4 and then in her next start won the Belmont in a gutsy performance over Curlin becoming only the 3rd filly ever to win the Belmont Stakes and the 1st sine Tanya in 1905. This year we have a very talented field full of horses looking to use this race as a stepping stone to a big 2010 campaign, but there are a few that stand out above the rest.
1. Blind LUck The 3 yr old daughter of Pollards Vision has really solidified herself as the Top Dog in the 3 yr old Filly division this year. As a 2 yr old she won two G1s in the Oak Leaf at Santa Anita and the Hollywood Starlet at Hollywood Park and also ran 2nd in the Darley Debutante at Del Mar and 3rd in the BC Juvenile Fillies. In her 3 yr old debut she flew down the stretch to win the G1 Las Virgenes at Santa Anita by a nose, but in her next start jockey Rafael Bejarano gave her too much to do late in the race and even with that strong turn of foot she was only able to get up for 3rd in the G1 Santa Anita Oaks. With the Kentucky Oaks being ran on conventional dirt her Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer decided to send her to Oaklawn Park for the G2 Fantasy to prep her for the Oaks, and it was a good thing he did. Blind LUck ran a career best race in the Fantasy winning by over 2 ½ lengths earning a career best Beyer Speed Figure of 104. Her previous best speed figure was a 93 in her 7 length win in the Hollywood Starlet. It looks like she has found a home on the dirt, and if she runs back to her race in the Fantasy in the Oaks then she is going to be a tough one to beat come Friday.
2. Tidal Pool After Blink LUck its tough to decide which other few standout above the rest in this evenly matched field. It took Tidal Pool a while until the light bulb finally turned, but once it did she showed how talented she is. Tidal Pool started 7 times as a 2 yr old winning twice in a maiden race and allowance. Trainer D Wayne LUkas ran her in 4 stakes races including 2 G3s and the G1 Alcibiades at Churchill Downs. She always ran respectable races usually finishing 4th or 5th but she just couldnt seem to put it all together. In her 3 yr old debut she finished 3rd in the Caressing Stakes at Fair Grounds after a bad trip. After that she went back to the allowance ranks to try and get things figured out and did she ever. She went on to win the allowance at Oaklawn by 8 lengths earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 103. Her previous best before that race was an 81 in the G1 Alcibiades where she finished 6th by a little over 4 lengths. With that kind of improvement from one race to another there were still question marks surrounding her and whether that was a fluke, but in her next start she ran a very good 2nd to Blind LUck after setting the pace earning another triple digit speed figure. Blind LUck looks like a clear standout, but Tidal Pool ran a great race against her in a race where it looks like she was set up to bounce off that 104 Beyer. Its safe to say this is now a legit Oaks contender, and with a little luck we could see her getting her revenge over Blind LUck in the big one.
3. Amen Hallelujah This was a tough choice selecting who else to throw in here because it really is a very competitive field, but we feel Amen Hallelujah is the best of the rest in this race. In her last start she ran a very good 2nd in the G2 Bonnie Miss at Gulfstream Park to Devil May Care who looks like will be running on Saturday against the Colts in the Kentucky Derby. Prior to that start she won the G2 Davona Dale at Gulfstream Park going one mile by over 6 lengths. The main question mark with this filly is can she get the distance? Her breeding says its doubtful, but her 2nd place finish to Devil May Care was going 1 1/8. In that race the early pace was very fast and she was right up near the lead, but was able to hold on for second even after going that fast early. Devil May Care was able to sit back in Fourth and then make her move coming into the stretch after Amen Hallelujah was softened by the pace. If Amen Hallelujah can rate off the pace setter and not get caught up in a speed duel like she did at Gulfstream she should be able to get the distance without a problem because its critical for her to have something left for the stretch run because Blink LUck will be closing fast on the outside much like Devil May Care did.
2010 Kentucky Derby Coverage