We have a full gate of 14 for the 147th Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1) and this looks like a very evenly matched group of fillies. Additionally, several of them have impeccable pedigrees that lend well to the 1 1/8-miles so whereas distance may be a concern in years past I think the top four or five choices in the wagering will all relish the conditions.
My top pick will be the #12 Search Results. This filly is undefeated in three career starts and I don’t believe we have seen the best of her yet. Her last start in the April 3 Gazelle Stakes (G3) was her first around two turns and not only did she win, but she won fairly easily. Search Results was wide in to the first turn, travelled in hand and wanting to do more down the backstretch, took the lead in commanding fashion as they turned for home and put away her opponents with ease. She is proven at the distance and has the tactical speed to maintain contact with the frontrunners and also get the jump on the closers. She is lightly raced, which is a bit of a concern, but trainer Chad Brown seems to campaign all his horses in this manner lately giving them time to recover between races and continue their upward trajectory in terms of speed figures with each start.
I also love the chances of #4 Crazy Beautiful. This daughter of Liam’s Map is one of the more experienced in the group and has always been a consistent performer. Trainer Kenny McPeek has given insightful feedback in to her development saying that as a young horse she used to strike herself while running on occasion. This means that within her own stride she would knick and clip her hooves against her legs while running creating some minor abrasions. This can create slight discomfort and prevent a horse from reaching their full potential and maximum speed. As she has developed this has been corrected and I believe she is just now coming in to herself.
McPeek also said that she was at about 80% fitness going in to the Davona Dale (G2) two starts back where she finished second. Off that race she was able to build upon her fitness and score handily in the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2). Additionally, her recent work over the track at Churchill Downs was the best of all the fillies in this race in my opinion. She clearly loves this track and is blossoming right now. If she was more tactical she would be my top selection but I fear that she will be too far off the pace and will end up coming up just short of the win but I will use her on all multi-race wagers as my price play. In watching the replays of recent Kentucky Oaks races the winners seem to be coming from just off the pace or mid pack. Deeper closers are making their run but not quite catching the frontrunners.
#10 Malathaat is a formidable favorite. This filly is relentless and has an innate desire to pass other horses. The fact that she caught #5 Pass the Champagne in the Grade 1 Central Bank Ashland at Keeneland to the short stretch wire showed just how tenacious she is. She is absolutely a win candidate.
#3 Clairiere has also impressed in her morning work this last week and has an impeccable pedigree as a daughter of Curlin out of the multiple Grade 1 winning mare Cavorting. She exits the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) along with the highly regarded #6 Travel Column. The Fair Grounds Oaks has been on of the most productive prep races for the Kentucky Oaks in recent years and both these fillies merit respect.
Search Results on top for me and I will be boxing her in the exactas and trifectas with Crazy Beautiful and Malathaat. Good luck in the Oaks!
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