LOUISVILLE, Ky., May 2, 2013 —Ten of the finest fillies horsedom can imagine will take the field on Friday, May 3 at Churchill Downs for the 138th running of the Kentucky Oaks, the Grade I race for 3-year-old fillies. The field would have been eleven, but Flashy Gray suffered a sore hoof earlier and was withdrawn.
Right now the odds-on favorite to win is Dreaming of Julia, the horse that shot like a rocket in the Gulfstream Parks Race and won by 21-3/4 lengths. The equine spitfire, trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by J. R. Velazquez, will start from Post Position 8, close to the middle of the pack and should do well. Her time in the Gulfstream race was an unbelievable mile and an eighth in 1 minute 48.97 seconds. For those of you who follow the Beyer standard of racing that gives this daughter of A.P. Indy a speed figure of 114.
More than a few eyes will also be on Seaneen Girl – with early odds at 20/1 and trained by B.S. Flint at Post Position 5 — because she is ridden by Rosie Napravnik, who hopes also to be the first woman rider to win the Derby this weekend. Those girls do stick together well.
Pletcher has his field pretty well covered; in addition to Julia, he also is saddling Silsita (P.P.1), ridden by Gary Stevens, who is making his first run in some time after coming out of retirement and out of the NBC sports booth. Pletcher also has Unlimited Budget with J. Castellano on board (P.P. 4) and Princess of Sylma (P.P.6), ridden by M. E. Smith, but the odds and history seem to be against those four unless Lady Luck really steps in.
The irrepressible Bob Baffert has Midnight Lucky at 9/2, ridden by R. Beharano to keep things straight from Post Position 2, and that may be where she finishes the race as well.
Don’t sell Pure Fun short: trained by Kevin McPeek and ridden by J.R. Leparoux, at Post Position 7, she may be a sleeper to watch out for.
Close Hatches is the final sleeper going off now at 6-1 from number 11, the last post position. She won the 2013 Gazelle Handicap and is a good runner.
If it’s a good, sunny day and the track is dry, it should be a wide-open race, and it will be exciting to see which of these outstanding fillies claims the prize.
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