Our Field for the 2018 KY Oaks

KY Oaks (Grade 1)- $1,000.000 Purse
CD- For Fillies Three Years Old
One Mile and One Eighth on the Dirt
May 4, 2018

Post positions have been drawn for the 15th running of the prestigious KY Oaks. Before delving into them, it must be mentioned right from the top that there is a 70% chance of showers at CD for Friday, as of press time. Last year, we were sloppy for this race, and it’s possible that we will be looking at an off track here. 70% is not necessarily a guarantee, however, and we can still hold out hope that our top three year old fillies will be able to run on a fast track. It’s been a fun prep race season on the female side because many of these have at one point looked like exceptionally strong and that they were at the top of their class at any one point in time. One of the best efforts in recent memory for past winners came in 2016 when Wicked Heat won this race, after a stretch of strong results and finishing third in the Juvenile Fillies the year prior. You knew that she could be a great one, and by winning the Oaks, she proved that. However, she would not stop there, winning the BC Distaff that year, becoming the one of two horses to win the KYO and the BC Distaff. (Java Jive in 2005 is the other). Last season, it was Aer Stables winning the race with K T D, but in showing that fate can take a horse either way after this race, K T D has not returned to the winners circle after a stake since then. (She does have an allowance win). Let’s meet this field!

#1- Enoughs Enough (Mb Stables, ridden by J Talamo)- The KYO may be the biggest race that Mb Stables has never won. Will this be the year? Well, the post draw teased him a little bit with getting the rail here before sending him to two outside posts. This may have been the right one to get the rail, even if she didn’t fare particularly well in her last start, the FG Oaks in late March. She’s only raced five times, so there can be varying opinions about how much should be read into that start, which only produced a 92 SRF. All was well prior to that, winning three out of four, including the Grade 2 Alexandra at FG in February. The good news is she’s been working well at AQU. She likes to come from behind on race day, though one never really can tell as the trainer can change things up with instructions more then most. This is a great horse that may win big races this summer, but right now, I think she is midpack for the KYO.

#2- Diminuendo (Smokey Stover, ridden by P Lopez)- This filly has been running competitively throughout the prep race season. Often, she was finding her way to be within a length from victory, and when the Grade 2 Gazelle seemed to be gift-wrapped for her, I had expected that she would breakthrough with a big prep race victory. That race ended up looking like the others, third, and missing by a length. Not to take anything away from those that beat her, but that finish was underwhelming. Diminuendo is a solid horse that can be counted on to pick up a check, but it is unlikely that the KYO will be the race that sees her get in the winners circle this year. Perhaps the fact that the trainer made another big private sales purchase before the Oaks shows that as well.

#3- Ivanka (Winning Link Stables, ridden by F Geroux)- I am very high on this filly, and think she might be overlooked just a tad. In seven starts, she has won four of them, and has done nothing wrong during the prep race season. The best part about that, is that she has remained lightly raced this year, following up a sharp GS Juvenile Fillies victory in November, by winning the Grade 2 Las Virgenes at SA in February. That’s a prep race that should go in the books as having one of the toughest fields, as it also featured Molly Magne, Jokes On You, and Dashing Throughout, all of whom are here as well. Last month, she ran second in the Grade 1 SA Oaks, as Jokes On You returned the favor. She can get it done here.

#4- On The Square (Crocker Ggs, ridden by A A Gallardo)- The trainer has qualified two for the KYO, and even though On The Square does not have the accolades of her stablemate, she should not be overlooked. To an extent, she looks like Diminuendo to me in that she is able to finish near the front and get a check, but not quite get that big win. Though, she did get a win in the $100.000 Busanda at AQU in January, so she has that going for her. None of her rivals today were in that race, however. Most recently, she made up a lot of ground in the stretch at Grade 2 GP Oaks to advance from ninth to second before being beat to the punch by Beat To The Punch. She might just be clamoring to run a full nine furlongs, too. On The Square is intriguing, for sure, I could certainly see how she’d win this race.

#5- Molly Magne (Gdp Inc, ridden by E A Roman)- In Feburary, Molly Magne ran a strong second to Ivanka in the Las Virgenes Stakes. Hoping to find just a little more speed, the trainer put a shadow roll on his filly for the for the Grade 3 Santa Ysabel Stakes, and she would come on top, winning by nearly three lengths in a field that also had Jokes On You and Dashing Throughout. After that, in the mud at KEE for the Grade 1 Ashland, she would not be a factor. As of press time, the trainer is doing away with the shadow roll, and we’ll see if that is the right move or not, or if Gdp Inc has second thoughts on that. Her last two races have been on off tracks, so if she sees another one here, she will have some experience on them, anyway.

#6- Misty Firefox (Crocker Ggs, ridden by F Pennington)- For good reason, I would expect to see Misty Firefox be one of the betting favorites on race day. She’s won three in a row, taking the Grade 3 Bourbonette Oaks at TP in March, and the winning the Grade 3 Fantasy at OP over the likes of La Terrifiant. Misty Firefox likes to come from behind, and did so in an impressive fashion particularly in the Bourbonette. That was also a win in the mud, so if it does rain on Friday, she is no stranger to the track condition. Her style, in general, leads me to believe that she is going to enjoy running the full nine furlongs, much like I think about her stablemate. No reason not to like her, and its going to come down to if she can get a clean trip.

#7- Quiver Pond (Estero Farms, ridden by R J Albarado)- The second of two fillies in the race that are by Kavorka (On The Square is the other), Quiver Pond has been impressive both on the main track and on the grass in her career. She’s won five of ten, but it’s her last two races, both victories, which stand out the most. One was the FL Oaks, a grade 3 on the turf, and then winning in the mud at the Grade 1 Ashland at KEE last month. R J Albarado had been a regular rider, and will be glad to return to the saddle. Likes to be near the lead early, and could play out well for her here.

#8- La Terrifiant (Our Athletes, ridden by J R Velazquez)- Back in November, La Terrifiant became a BC Champion, winning the BC Juvenile Fillies. She continued to be in great form after that, winning the Grade 2 Demoiselle a month after that. Into her three year old season, the results had not been as strong, and Jive Inc sold her off to Our Athletes for $375.000. Just five days after the sale, La Terrifiant was running in her new silks at the Grade 3 Fantasy, and just missed out on the victory, placing second, losing the headbob to Misty Firefox. If there were any concerns about her in the races prior to the sale, they were erased with that finish. She can definitely pull a “Remember Me?!” on this field, as others are seen as having passed her by.

#9- Manifest (Smokey Stover, ridden by J R Leparoux)- This filly by Grandeur, another that has two foals in this race (Enoughs Enough is the other), had shown signs of a career breakthrough prior to being sold in private sales for a healthy $550.000 from Mb Stables to Smokey Stover, one of two in this field to take the Mb Stables-Smokey Stover express this Spring. (What rivalry?) In her Smokey Stover debut, Manifest stepped up and showed why the trainer spent so much by winning the Grade 3 Honeybee at OP. She didn’t do as well in the rain at the Grade 1 Ashland, so she’ll be hoping the rain stays away on Friday.

#10- Jokes On You (Smokey Stover, ridden by R Bejarano)- Due to the restrictions placed on Mb Stables, the trainer made a forum post in mid-April declaring that he’d be willing to sell those who qualified, but may be excluded since he could only have three entries. With that, a private sales transaction took place with Jokes On You, just like it did with Manifest, as Smokey Stover acquired a contender from Mb Stables. Jokes On You has won three out of six, with the biggest win of any of them coming in her most recent, the Grade 1 SA Oaks, topping Ivanka. She earned the right to be here, but was almost left out. Now, she’s the best horse Smokey Stover has in the race.

#11- British Chai (Mo Mentum Farm, ridden by V Espinoza)- If this filly were to win, it would certainly be historic, given that she is a maiden. Even better, though, would be that she was acquired for just $70.000 in private sales, while the two to her inside were sold for a combined $1,025.000. Sure, British Chai was more unheralded then, but Mo Mentum Farm still did his homework on her early on, as she only had one at PM before the sale. $70.000 is a decent tag for a horse with simply a PM start. The trainer got her running long, and the results have seen everything but a win. To get here, she ran second in the Grade 1 Ashland at muddy KEE last month. That’s promising if it rains on Friday. This is a horse to root for because of her story on how she got here, alone. Might be too tough for her, but she gets better with every start.

#12- Jinxed Queen- Scratched

#13- Beat To The Punch (Mb Stables, ridden by J L Ortiz)- She knows how to win, doing so in six out of ten starts, and has been a part of the exacta in nine of ten races. She did not win out in the post draw, but perhaps we’re due to see one win from an outside post as well. Beat To The Punch has gotten it done in Florida, running second in the Forward Gal at GP before winning that track’s Grade 2 Davona Dale and Grade 2 GP Oaks. Works are exceptionally strong heading into this race, and if she was in a better spot in the gate, I’d put her on top. While a win may not happen here, I can see us talking about big wins from her this summer.

#14- Most Charming (Mb Stables, ridden by I Ortiz Jr)- The final chance for Mb Stables to pick up his first career KYO victory, Most Charming comes into the race looking pretty stout with two wins in her last three races, all in Grade 2 preps. The most recent win was a triumph at the FG Oaks, where she defeated stablemate Enoughs Enough, as well as La Terrifiant and Diminuendo. That victory earned her an SRF of 98, which is the highest such figure that anyone in this field as produced in their career so far. Works are sharp, and pretty similar to stablemate Beat To The Punch. Can she do it from this spot, though?

#15- Dashing Throughout (Toppedout, ridden by T C Baze)- The trainer was happy to hear of the scratch of Jinxed Queen, as that allows him to get Dashing Throughout into the race. It’s her 19th start, and think she is an intriguing fit to this race, given her tendency to jump out to the lead. That will make sure the pace of this race is honest, and some of the closers in this field might hope it is too quick. They might like Dashing Throughout’s presence here the most. She seems to be at her best when the track is wet, too, so any rain on Friday will be to her liking. The bad news in drawing in from the also eligible means you have to start from the outside, and that probably does Dashing Throughout in.

Prediction: 3-8-13-10

— NS

Categories: Grade I, STAKES ARTICLES

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