Homeracing

Kentucky Oaks Crazier than Kentucky Derby

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D.S. Williamson

April 16th, 2017

If you thought the Kentucky Derby was a toss-up, wait until you take a look at the Kentucky Oaks field. Talk about toss-up! The Oaks is so crazy that I haven't the foggiest idea who to build wagers around on Kentucky Oaks Day. Without Unique Bella, the Oaks has truly become wide-open.

The final Kentucky Oaks' prep races pointed to how even more wide-open the Oaks is than the Derby. Check out the Top 5 Kentucky Oaks starters in this year's race based on points.

Farrell

The daughter of Malibu Moon and Rebridled Dreams took home the Fairground Oaks after winning the Rachel Alexandra. What I love about Farrell is her ability to either run up front or relax right off. She won the Rachel Alexandra by dominating on the lead. Then, she put in a sweet run to take home the Fairground Oaks by laying right off. She has yet to face the likes of Miss Sky Warrior and Paradise Woods. But, she appears capable of being tactical in the Oaks. That might give her an advantage.

Miss Sky Warrior

It's tough to know how good Miss Sky Warrior really is. She obliterated the Gazelle field. But, this year's Gazelle wasn't that great. She also ran the 1 1/8 miles in 1:51.71.

I do like that the Gazelle was at 1 1/8 miles. The real problem I have is that the horse that finished second in the Gazelle, Lockdown, is no where near as good as Farrell or Paradise Woods. If Miss Sky Warrior gets into a speed duel with Paradise Woods, she'll be done for.

Sailor's Valentine

I'm writing off Sailor's Valentine's chances of winning the 2017 Kentucky Oaks right now. Yes, she ran her heart out to get to the wire ahead of Daddy's Lil Darling. Yes, the Ashland is a Grade 1 race and, arguably, the most important Kentucky Oaks prep race of the year. But, she was on a :49.32 half-mile, a 1:14.06 three-quarters mile, and a 1:39.06 mile. Daddy's Lil Darling was ready to rush past Sailor's Valentine even though the pace was ridiculously slow. I don't see Sailor's Valentine keeping up with Paradise Woods and Miss Sky Warrior.

Paradise Woods

Wow. She absolutely freaked in the Santa Anita Oaks. Richard Mandella knows how to train them. She should have no trouble being competitive in the Kentucky Oaks. But, I do worry that she might bounce. She ran so fast in the Santa Anita Oaks that it's difficult for me seeing her repeating that effort. She may have come into her own. Still, it was only her third lifetime race, and the Santa Anita Oaks is at 1 1/16 miles. Will she have enough of a bottom to run that fast in the 1 1/8 miles Kentucky Oaks? I'm not so sure. So, although I believe that she'll be competitive, she's by no means a lock even though her Beyer Figure from the Santa Anita Oaks, a 107, says she's a lock.

Salty

The Mark Casse trainee could be much faster than what she's shown so far in her career. Take the Gulfstream Park Oaks as an example. She broke slow. She went 4-wide around the first turn. She went 5-wide around the second turn. She won the race by 4.5 lengths. Who knows by how many lengths she would have won the GP Oaks if she hadn't gone wide around both turns.

Her lone loss was a second in her very first lifetime race at 6.5 furlongs. She was behind 3.5 lengths by the third call and still managed to make up enough ground to lose by a neck. Salty might be the one to consider to upset Farrell and Paradise Woods.

 
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