2019 Kentucky Oaks Day: Scratches, Changes and Course Conditions

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

May 3rd, 2019

Happy Kentucky Oaks Day!

I hope you’re ready for an action-packed day of racing at Churchill Downs. The 13-race Friday card kicks off early at 10:30 a.m. ET and includes six graded stakes races.

One of the topics everyone is discussing is how the weather will affect the track conditions. Rainfall has been plentiful in Louisville as of late, though a brief respite Thursday allowed the track to dry out a bit, reaching “fast” and “firm” by the end of the afternoon racing. Judging from the times recorded in those races, fast and firm were fair assessments. The one-mile Opening Verse Overnight Stakes on grass produced a quick winning time of 1:35.07 (with a final quarter in :23.89), suggesting the turf course was in fine shape.

But then it rained on Friday night, to the extent that flash flood warnings have been issued for Central Kentucky, and the Oaks card will begin with the main track labeled “sloppy” and the turf course “good.” Churchill Downs has a reputation for drying out quickly, but scattered thunderstorms remain in the forecast, so additional rain could be on the way.

As a result I’ll be watching for any signs of rain-induced track biases, particularly on the dirt track. When conditions are sloppy and sealed at Churchill Downs, the inside frequently becomes the best part of the track, so keep an eye out for rail-skimming rides. Jockeys like Corey Lanerie and Brian Hernandez, Jr.—Churchill Downs regulars who aren’t afraid to ride the rail—could be poised for big days.

Because of the rain the first and fourth races—originally scheduled for turf—will be conducted over the main track. There have been plenty of scratches, so mark your past performances as follows:

Race 1

Scratch #2 Crupi’s Pizza Dom, #6 A Man Called Brody, and #10 Firewater Jake.

Race 2

Scratch #1 Annathela

Race 3

Scratch #3 Lady Kate

Race 4

Scratch #1 Blankenbaker, #5 World Tax War, #8 Cowboys Dream, #9 Valdolobo, #12 Life Mission, #14 Parade Field, #15 Value Engineering, #16 Phantom Currency, and #18 Silverzar.

Please note, #2 Atthepearlygates will be ridden by Joel Rosario and #13 Stock Chain will be ridden by Declan Cannon.

Race 7

Scratch #3 Prime Attraction, #7 Hawaakom, and #9 Multiplier.

Race 8

Scratch #8 Golden Award

Race 9

Scratch #1A Funny Duck, #2 Rugbyman, and #14 Cove Blue.

Please note, #3 Cummings will be ridden by Flavien Prat.

Race 10

Scratch #1 Bound for Nowhere and #2 Mr. Crow.

Please note, #8 Undrafted will be ridden by Irad Ortiz, Jr.

Race 11

Scratch #15 Dunbar Road and #16 Point of Honor.

Race 13

Scratch #7 Leesburg Lady and #13 Barracuda.

Please note, #12 Club Car will be ridden by Corey Lanerie.

I’ll be posting updates, insights and proposed wagers throughout the day. In the meantime you can check out my wagering strategy for the Kentucky Oaks, as well as my thoughts and plays for the popular Oaks/Derby double.

Enjoy the races!