Bellafina winning the Sorrento Stakes (gr. II) at Del Mar - © BENOIT PHOTO

Bellafina winning the Sorrento Stakes (gr. II) at Del Mar – © BENOIT PHOTO

The Kentucky Oaks, on the Friday before the Run for the Roses, is shaping up to be incredibly competitive. Last year, Monomoy Girl easily won the Oaks, but this year’s favorite, Bellafina, could face some serious competition.

No doubt, Bellafina’s the chalk. She’s at the top of my final Kentucky Oaks Top 5 because she’s a dynamite racehorse and the most accomplished of the three-year-old fillies likely to enter. She’s no lock, though. Check out more about Bellafina as well as info on the rest of my Kentucky Oaks Final Top 5.

Street Band, Liora, Right There with Bellafina

1. Bellafina

She’s won 6-of-7 and deserves to be favored. But, she has never won outside of California. Not only has she never won outside of California, but she ran her worst race at Churchill Downs in the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.

That’s not the only thing. She easily handled a mediocre group in the Santa Anita Oaks in her last, but she drifted in late, which might be a sign she was tired. Although she’s at the top of my rankings, there’s much more handicapping to do before backing her up with dollars to win the Oaks.

2. Street Band

She tracked about two lengths behind favored Serengeti Empress in the Fair Grounds Oaks, pulled out, and then put away Liora in the middle of the stretch after that won had overtaken the chalk. What’s not to like about Street Band’s performance? Trainer Larry Jones has saddled some great fillies and mares including Eight Belles and Havre de Grace. Jones will make sure Street Band takes another step forward in the Kentucky Oaks. She’s a real contender.

3. Liora

In the Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks, Liora made a winning move to get past Serengeti Empress. There was a moment where it appeared as if she would pull away from the field for an easy win. But, Street Band was too much for her that day.

If she gets the same sort of run in the Kentucky Oaks, tracks a front runner like Serengeti Empress before pulling to the front around the turn, she could win. Street Band, Bellafina, and Restless Rider might not make up enough ground. Liora’s yet another contender to wear the Lillies for the Fillies.

4. Out for a Spin

She pushed Jaywalk throughout in the Grade 1 Ashland and they were going fast! Jaywalk ran the half-mile in 46.46. Out for a Spin was right there with her. Then, once she took over from Jaywalk, she held off Restless Rider.

Trainer Dallas Stewart should have her ready to take another step forward. She’s proven she can rate if she must. If the pace is slow, she can take the lead and try to string them out. There’s a lot to like about this Hard Spun sired filly.

5. Restless Rider

No doubt, she’s talented enough to win the Kentucky Oaks, but she doesn’t like to run by horses. She hung badly in the Ashland Stakes. Trainer Kenny McPeek has about three weeks to figure her out. Right now, she’s a must use in exotics. Putting her on top to win’s difficult.

Before the Kentucky Derby on May 4, they run the Kentucky Oaks on May 3. Make sure to check out the Lillies for the Fillies!