The finest 3-year-old fillies hit the racetrack Friday at Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Oaks. Unfortunately, it will be a rainy and soggy day at the racetrack for patrons, horses, and horse racing personnel. At least an 80% chance of rain showers and thunderstorms is in the forecast for Friday afternoon.
The huge 13-race card Friday includes seven big graded stakes races headlined by the $1.25 million Kentucky Oaks.
Horse betting will be big throughout the day, especially for the Oaks/Derby Double. That’s Race 11 for the Kentucky Oaks on Friday at 5:51 p.m. EDT and Race 12 for the Kentucky Derby on Saturday at 6:57 p.m. EDT. Picking the two winners of those races can provide a bigger bonus and payoff, especially if a long shot or less popular contender wins.
Sharp bettors for Saturday’s 148th running of the Kentucky Derby will be following the tote boards and the exacta pools. They’ll be looking for the Derby horses attracting the most money in the Oaks/Derby Double, which will impact the payout and odds. Additionally, this data provides clues on where the early money is going for the Kentucky Derby.
Kentucky Oaks field and odds
- Secret Oath (6-1)
- Nostalgic (15-1)
- Hidden Connection (20-1)
- Nest (5-2)
- Goddess of Fire (15-1)
- Yuugiri (30-1)
- Echo Zulu (4-1)
- Venti Valentine (20-1)
- Desert Dawn (20-1)
- Kathleen O. (7-2)
- Cocktail Moments (30-1)
- Candy Raid (30-1)
- Shahama (15-1)
- Turnerloose (20-1)
Is Nest the best of the 14 fillies?
Trainer Todd Pletcher saddles the Kentucky Oaks favorite, Nest (5-2), with top jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. riding. Pletcher has won the Oaks four times, including twice with fillies racing on a sloppy or “off” track. So he’s confident Nest will splash home a winner if the conditions and track are sloppy.
“If the track’s wet, I think Nest will handle it really well,” Pletcher said this week.
Nest has won four of five career starts, including a stunning 8 1/2-length romp a month ago. Nest was by far the best in the Ashland Stakes at Keeneland.
“We loved her race in the Ashland; it was kind of a breakthrough performance. She’s gained some weight since then, looks super and has two good works over the track,” Pletcher said.
Nest is a hard-closing Bay daughter of the great Curlin out of an A.P. Indy mare. Those are the same colors and closing running style as another Pletcher runner in the Kentucky Derby, Mo Donegal. Could Pletcher capture the Oaks/Derby Double with his trio of horses in each race with Nest, Goddess of Fire, Shaham/Mo Donegal, Charge It, and Pioneer of Medina?
Our colleagues and contacts at Guaranteed Tip Sheet have provided brief insight on their four talented fillies to complete the superfecta in the loaded Kentucky Oaks.
- Echo Zulu is undefeated in five starts. The only question is the distance, but she should be better in her second start after a layoff and should not have too much competition for the lead.
- Nest improved her speed figure in three straight and should be coming fast at the end.
- After winning three easy races prior, Secret Oath held her own against the boys in the Arkansas Derby.
- Kathleen O. is undefeated in four Gulfstream Park races and could be at her best in the third start after a layoff.
Our partners at TVG provide additional insight on the Kentucky Oaks odds and contenders, along with their picks.
Win: Echo Zulu
Place: Kathleen O.
Show: Secret Oath
Long shot: Juju’s Map
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