2019 Kentucky Oaks Predictions with Odds and Expert Betting Picks
The field is set for the Kentucky Oaks, and it shapes up to be a very good race. The Oaks is not nearly as high-profile as the Kentucky Derby , but it is still a very significant event. It is the headline event of the Friday of Derby weekend and the most important race for three-year-old fillies outside of the Breeders' Cup. Great horses win this race, including Rags to Riches and Rachel Alexandra, who went on to win the Belmont and Preakness, respectively. The Oaks has just 14 spots in the starting gate compared to 20 for the Derby, with aspiring entrants following a similar road to the race by acquiring points as they do on the way to the Derby.
Here's a look at the field for Friday's big event, with the track morning line odds.
Bellafina (2/1): This filly has dominated all three of her starts this year and is a deserving favorite. If you are looking for an excuse, it is that she flopped in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies last year as a strong favorite in her only other trip to Churchill Downs. She had excuses on that day but has still been her best in California. And she also has shown her best efforts in races shorter than the nine furlongs of this event. I respect the filly, but at this price - and she could go even lower once the public gets their hands on her - I would be looking to beat her.
Champagne Anyone (6/1): She's a daughter of Derby winner Street Sense, so she has the breeding to shine on this weekend. But there is rain in the forecast for Thursday and Friday, and she was flat in her only race on an off track to date. She is coming off her best race, though, and showed an aggressiveness in that effort that would play well here if she could replicate it.
Restless Rider (6/1): She was second in the Juvenile Fillies here, and second in her two prep races since, so we have to question if she has the killer instinct to win. She has had only one race since November, though, so we should see some improvement in this race. I find it hard to figure out what to think of this horse. I like the breeding, though - sire Distorted Humor sired Derby and Preakness winner Funny Cide, among many others. I am cautiously and uneasily optimistic, but the price can't go down.
Serengeti Empress (8/1): This horse is a total rollercoaster. She won the Pocahontas last fall by 19 lengths here at Churchill. Nineteen! But then she was a total mess in the Juvenile Fillies next time out on the same track. She bounced back to win the Rachel Alexandra impressively in February. But then she stopped in her next start - her last prep race - and was vanned off the track. At her best she is truly incredible. But what are you going to see at any given time from her? Your guess is as good as mine.
Jaywalk (8/1): She won the Juvenile Fillies last fall to cap off a very strong two-year-old year - one that earned her the Eclipse Award for top two-year-old filly. But she has not lived up to the hype this year - or even come close, really. She has been fourth and third in her two preps and has not felt like a real threat either time. How often have we seen colts or fillies that have been unbeatable at two that haven't been able to carry it forward? I would like to be proven wrong because she was fun to watch last year, but I am not a believer.
Flor de la Mar (20/1): This is an interesting long shot, though her price will likely fall in the hands of the public. She is trained by Bob Baffert, who certainly knows how to win with three-year-olds this weekend. Not only does he have five Derby wins, and two Triple Crowns, but he has won the Oaks three times - most recently in 2017. This is a well-bred but lightly-raced filly owned by Godolphin, the Dubai powerhouse. She has run only three times, having made her debut in January. And only one start has been in stakes company. It was her best outing, though, as she finished a respectable-though-well-beaten second to Bellafina. It feels like there is upside here, and she will handle the distance without a concern. At the very least you need to use her in the bottom end of the exotics. And I'll be tempted to use her for more than that.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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