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FABULOUS FILLIES 2019

By January 14, 2019January 14th, 2024No Comments

The Alabama Stakes (G1) was run on Aug. 17 at Saratoga Race Course and Dunbar Road finished strong to capture the ten furlong stamina test for sophomore fillies. She is lightly raced and on the improve for Chad Brown, and he also has Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) and Acorn (G1) winner Guarana.

Check out Today’s Racing Digest for handicapping products, analysis, and more! Dunbar Road capture above courtesy of Today’s Racing Digest.

Later that same day at Del Mar, Fighting Mad was too fleet for her rivals in the Torrey Pines (G3). The Bob Baffert trainee won by eight lengths but might not want to travel longer distances against top company.

Alabama Stakes (G1) Recap (8-17-19): Winner: Dunbar Road ($5.50)

The track was sloppy in this mile and a quarter stamina test for 3-year-old fillies. Speed did not hold in this race. Champagne Anyone, Ulele, and Lady Apple were all right there early and nowhere late. Point of Honor made a nice outside move under Javier Castellano, and it looked for a brief moment that she might spurt clear, but Street Band went with that one and would not go away. Meanwhile, Dunbar Road was patiently ridden and always traveling well under Jose Ortiz, and she had all of the momentum in the stretch and pulled clear to win by a bit less than three lengths. Point of Honor won the place battle by a nose over Street Band, and the top three were 5+ clear of Off Topic and Afleet Destiny. The three aforementioned early runners completed the order of finish.

Torrey Pines Stakes (G3) Recap (8-17-19) – Winner: Fighting Mad ($6.60)

This race was settled right out of the gate. Fighting Mad stretched out for Baffert, made a clear early lead though very reasonable splits, and scampered away in the lane to win by eight lengths. Hollywood Hills rallied from last to land the place as the longest shot on the board. Into Chocolate stalked and tried to make a run at the winner, and she lost 2nd late. Kim K was 4th, followed by High Regard, Sneaking Out, and Classic Fit.

Jarrod Horak’s Fabulous Five Sophomore Fillies (8-27-19)

#1 – DUNBAR ROAD – Mother Goose (G2) winner easily handled 10f in Alabama (G1).

#2 – GUARANA – Acorn (G1) & CCAO (G1) winner is 3-for-3. Sept. 21 Cotillion (G1) at Parx is next.

#3 – POINT OF HONOR – Black-Eyed Susan (G2) winner finished 2nd in CCAO (G1) and Alabama (G1).

#4 – SERENGETI EMPRESS – Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner 2nd in Acorn (G1) and 2nd in Test (G1).

#5 – BELLAFINA – 6-time graded winner has worked twice at Del Mar since distant 3rd in Test (G1).

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My top two ranked 3-year-old fillies (Point of Honor, Dunbar Road) square off in the Alabama Stakes (G1) at a mile and a quarter at Saratoga Race Course on Saturday, August 17, 2019. Dunbar Road is the favorite and Point of Honor is the second choice, and the winner figures to take the lead in the sophomore filly division.

SAR 10 (G1 Alabama, 10f) #7 POINT OF HONOR (5-2) has been targeting this race for months. She has earned strong Late Pace Ratings in all five starts, and this distance should be right up her alley. I think she has more stamina than these. #1 Dunbar Road (8-5) has been carefully campaigned by Chad Brown. She was considered for some ambitious spots, but they have taken the easy road so far. This is her longest and toughest test to date, and she will probably save ground stalking the pace under Jose Ortiz. #4 Champagne Anyone (10-1) added blinkers and won the Gulfstream Oaks (G2) March 30. She was stuck in an outer post and got no pace help in the Kentucky Oaks (G1), and she chased and faded to 4th in the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) July 21. She fired a bullet for this Aug. 12 and might move forward. #5 Street Band (10-1) exits an easy win in the Indiana Oaks (G3). She projects a stalking trip. #8 Off Topic (10-1) has some stamina. She landed the show in the Gazelle (G2) and Coaching Club American Oaks (G1). She is good enough to land a share. #2 Lady Apple (6-1) has been improving all year but does not strike me as a ten furlong horse. She should be in the hunt from the outset. #6 Ulele (8-1) might be the controlling speed for Brad Cox, but I am not sure about today’s added ground. Her biggest advantage is pace. Point Of Honor got past her by a 1/2 length in the Black-Eyed Susan (G2) at nine furlongs. #9 Kelsey’s Cross (15-1) ran well in all five turf starts. Her dirt breeding is alright but she does not fast enough to compete with these. #3 Afleet Destiny (30-1) has been no threat in the stakes ranks recently and is not fast enough to compete with these. Wagers: #7 to win, Exacta Box 1-7, Trifecta Key 7/1-4-5-8

Jarrod Horak’s Fabulous Five Sophomore Fillies (8-16-19)

#1 – POINT OF HONOR – Exits strong 2nd in CCAO (G1). She might have stamina edge in Alabama (G1).

#2 – DUNBAR ROAD – Mother Goose (G2) winner tries to go the distance in Alabama (G1).

#3 – GUARANA – Acorn (G1) & CCAO (G1) winner is 3-for-3. Might have distance limitations.

#4 – BELLAFINA – 6-time graded stakes winner back in California after distant 3rd in Test (G1).

#5 – SERENGETI EMPRESS – Triple graded winner 2nd in Acorn (G1) and 2nd in Test (G1).

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The Test Stakes (G1) at Saratoga Race Course on August 3 was dominated by the speed horses. Both of my Top 5 sophomore fillies (Serengeti Empress, Bellafina) ran well, but were no match for the speedy Covfefe.

Test Stakes (G1) Recap (8-3-19) – Winner: Covfefe ($8.50)

This was a strange race dominated by the two pace players. Serengeti Empress was hustled from the inside post to gain the early advantage. Covfefe chased her from 2nd, and they suddenly separated themselves from the pack. It was a 2-horse race all the way, and Covfefe prevailed by a 1/2 length. Bellafina was flat at the start and never had a chance. She was nowhere near the top two but was well clear of the rest in 3rd. It is a good thing for her that the Breeders’ Cup is in California. She is probably better than these on the West Coast. Trenchtown Cat chased throughout and held 4th, and was followed by Jeltrin, Royal Charlotte, and Please Flatter Me.

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Two of my top five sophomore fillies square off in the Test Stakes (G1) at Saratoga Race Course on Saturday, August, 3, 2019. The seven furlong Test is a rematch between Serengeti Empress and Bellafina. The former took down the latter in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) on the first Friday in May at Churchill Downs. The shorter distance of the Test Stakes might favor Bellafina, and she is fresher than her nemesis this time.

Check out Today’s Racing Digest for handicapping products, analysis, and more! Bellafina capture above courtesy of Today’s Racing Digest.

SAR 8 (G1 Test, 7f ) #2 BELLAFINA (2-1) is 6-for-9 with a 2nd, and her only two below par efforts were at Churchill Downs as the beaten favorite in the BC Juvenile Fillies (G1) and Kentucky Oaks (G1). She runs well fresh and is 2-for-2 at this distance. She might sit a great trip stalking fast fractions. #5 Royal Charlotte (3-1) is 4-for-4 for Chad Brown, and she easily made the grade as the 3-2 favorite in the Victory Ride (G3) July 5. Javier Castellano should have options with the early-pressing filly. #4 Trenchtown Cat (12-1) switched to dirt and earned improved numbers in her last pair, and today’s rider Irad Ortiz Jr. guided her to a pair of turf wins at Gulfstream Park earlier this year. She figures to stalk the pace and can spice up the exotics. #3 Covfefe (5-2) is very fast early, and she was brilliant in the Miss Preakness (G3) at Pimlico May 17. I am not sure she wants to go this far, especially with #1 Serengeti Empress (7-2) and #6 Please Flatter Me (15-1) breathing down her neck. #7 Jeltrin (20-1) rounds out the field. The Davona Dale (G2) winner landed the show in the Acorn (G1) and Mother Goose (G2) in her last pair. A minor award is not impossible. Wagers: #2 to win, Exacta 2/4-5, Exacta 4-5/2, Trifecta 2/4/ALL, Trifecta 2/ALL/4

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It is time to update the 3-year-old filly top five list. Guarana, my top ranked filly heading into last weekend’s Coaching Club American Oaks (G1), stretched out in that event and ran her record to a perfect 3-for-3, but she was not nearly as impressive around two turns. Does she retain the #1 spot?

Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) Recap (7-21-19) – Winner: Guarana ($2.50)

Guarana could not have been more impressive in her first two wins around one turn, including the Acorn (G1) at Belmont. This nine furlong affair was her longest test to date, and she was the controlling speed. The Chad Brown trainee was never headed and got the job done by a length, but she did not dominate this event. She was never seriously threatened but it appears as though she has distance limitations. Point of Honor ran a big race to land the place. She was wide from the outside post and rallied from last in the compact 5-horse field. This race served its purpose as a prep for the Alabama (G1), and she figures to love ten furlongs. Off Topic was best of the rest in 3rd, and Champagne Anyone pressed the pace and weakened to 4th in her first start since the Kentucky Oaks (G1). Boxwood trailed.

Jarrod Horak’s Fabulous Five Sophomore Fillies (7-27-19)

#1 – POINT OF HONOR – Exits strong 2nd in CCAO (G1). She is the one to beat in Aug 17 Alabama (G1).

#2 – DUNBAR ROAD – Mother Goose (G2) winner breezed 5f at Saratoga July 27. Goes next in Alabama.

#3 – GUARANA – Acorn (G1) & CCAO (G1) winner is 3-for-3. Might have distance limitations.

#4 – BELLAFINA – 6-time graded stakes winner goes next in Saratoga’s Test (G1) Aug 3.

#5 – SERENGETI EMPRESS – Triple graded winner 2nd in Acorn (G1). Test is next target.

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The last time I checked in with the 3-year-old fillies, Dunbar Road was running away with the Mother Goose on June 29. She is trained by Chad Brown, and he also saddles exciting Acorn (G1) winner Guarana. The latter meets four rivals in the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) on Sunday, July 21, and she figures to win at short odds with anything resembling her first two stellar scores. Check out my CCAO analysis below!

SAR 4 (G1 Coaching Club American Oaks, 9f) #1 GUARANA (2-5) was outstanding in the Acorn (G1) June 8. She also romped in her sprint debut in the slop at KEE, and she probably cruises again for Ortiz/Brown. #2 Champagne Anyone (4-1) got no pace help as my top choice in the Kentucky Oaks (G1). She should be closer throughout today, and I am expecting her to complete the exacta. #5 Point of Honor (7-2) is tuning up for the Alabama. She got there for me in the Black-Eyed Susan (G2) May 17. Wagers: Exacta 1-2, Trifecta Key 1/2-5

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The next big race for the top 3-year-old fillies is the Mother Goose Stakes at Belmont Park on Saturday, June 29, 2019. Dunbar Road is the strong favorite, and is part of my Fabulous Five Sophomore Fillies list.

Check out Today’s Racing Digest for handicapping products, analysis, and more! Dunbar Road capture above courtesy of Today’s Racing Digest.

Mother Goose Stakes (G2) Analysis From Belmont Park (6-29-19)

BEL 8 (G2 Mother Goose, 8.5f) #1 DUNBAR ROAD (4-5) has been carefully spotted this year, and the Chad Brown trainee has run well in all three outings. This looks like a great spot to pick up her first graded win. She figures to save ground stalking the pace under Jose Ortiz. #6 Wings of Dawn (5-1) exits back-to-back all-weather route wins at WO for Casse. She is improving and might be able to get a piece of this. #2 Classic Fit (8-1) won three straight to end her 2018 campaign including the Hut Hut at GP. This is her first start in more than six months, and she adds lasix. Wagers: Exacta 1-6, Trifecta Key 1/2-6

Jarrod Horak’s Fabulous Five Sophomore Fillies (6-28-19)

#1 – GUARANA – Razor sharp Acorn (G1) winner breezed at Belmont June 23.

#2 – POINT OF HONOR – Black-Eyed Susan (G2) winner can run all day. Training at Saratoga.

#3 – CHAMPAGNE ANYONE – Got no pace help in Ky. Oaks (G1). Worked a solid 5f at CD June 21.

#4 – DUNBAR ROAD – Guarana’s stablemate looks tough to deny in Mother Goose (G2).

#5 – CE CE – Better than appears 4th in Acorn (G1). I expect her to run much better next time.

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​Guarana was great in the 2019 Acorn Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park on Saturday, June 8, 2019. She was my solid second choice, and she sure made short work of this field. She was not facing any slouches either. The bettors made her the favorite over Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Serengeti Empress, and they obviously backed the right horse.

There was a strong inside bias at Belmont Park on Saturday, and early speed and the inside post made Serengeti Empress a viable win candidate. Despite all of those advantages, the Oaks winner could not hold off the onslaught of Guarana. The latter raced on the good part of the racetrack behind contested fractions, and she cruised up to the aforementioned front runner and went right on by. She increased her winning margin throughout the stretch, and was a good six lengths in front when all was said and done.

Serengeti Empress finished a clear 2nd in a solid effort, but I will play against her next time. She had every advantage but did not come close to the winner. Jeltrin rode the good inside before rallying wide to nip Ce Ce for the show, but I thought the latter ran a much better race. The California shipper was my top choice and basically lost this race at the post draw. She was probably not going to beat Guarana anyway, but stalking wide was a recipe for failure at Big Sandy on this day. I believe that she completes the exacta on any other day, and I would definitely play her back next time.

As for the winner, she might be the leader of the 3-year-old filly division after this performance. She is now 2-for-2 for trainer Chad Brown, with a combined winning margin of 20-lengths! The daughter of Ghostzapper, out of a Distorted Humor mare, is bred to handle two turns, and the sky is the limit.

Jarrod Horak’s Fabulous Five Sophomore Fillies (6-9-19)

#1 – GUARANA – Romped in both starts and was sensational in Acorn (G1).

#2 – POINT OF HONOR – Black-Eyed Susan (G2) winner can run all day.

#3 – CHAMPAGNE ANYONE – Got no pace help in Ky. Oaks (G1). Can route or sprint and returned to work tab June 7.

#4 – DUNBAR ROAD – Guarana’s stablemate easily won allowance at Belmont May 30.

#5 – CE CE – Better than appears 4th in Acorn (G1). I expect her to run much better next time.

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I covered the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs the day before the Kentucky Derby, and it was on to Pimlico and the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes the day before the Preakness. I did not have Serengeti Empress in the former, but I got Point of Honor home in the latter race.

It is Belmont Stakes Day 2019, and the 3-year-old fillies are at it again in the Acorn Stakes (G1). Kentucky Oaks winner Serengeti Empress drew the inside post and is 5-2 on the morning line, but I will try to beat her. Who am I playing? Check out my Acorn analysis below!

BEL 7 (G1 Acorn, 8f)
Primary – #9 CE CE, #7 Guarana
Secondary – #3 Cookie Dough, #6 Proud Emma
Wagers: #9 to win, Exacta Box 7-9, Exacta 7-9/3-6, Trifecta 7-9/3-6-7-9/3-6-7-9, Trifecta 7-9/ALL/6

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Finally, a race that ran the way it looked on paper. Kentucky Oaks 2019 was baffling earlier this month. So much pace in the paper race, but Serengeti Empress was able to get out there and control the pace in her upset victory, while my top choice Champagne Anyone toiled at the back of the pace before passing multiple rivals and finishing 4th.

Fast forward two weeks to the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (G2) at Pimlico Race Course, and my top choice Point of Honor raced wide throughout from an outer post before rallying to win by a 1/2 length over ground saving stalker Ulele. How much the best was the winner? She took the overland route from off the pace and still won, and the daughter Curlin wanted every bit of the nine furlong distance. I think the Alabama (G1) later this summer at Saratoga at a mile and a quarter is a race that she needs target. The longer the better for George Weaver’s lightly raced, improving filly.

Ulele ran well but could not have gotten a better trip. Show finisher Cookie Dough controlled the pace but could not see out the distance, and added ground was always the concern for her. Brill stalked the pace and finished 4th, and she was tripped up by the distance as well. Off Topic was last early and passed a few rivals to finish 5th.

Always Shopping was the big disappointment. She won her last two stakes starts at a mile and an eighth, and the tactical filly skipped the Kentucky Oaks and targeted this race. She had great race spacing but never kicked in a flat 6th place finish for Todd Pletcher. Local runners Las Setas and Our Super Freak trailed.

Everything worked out well for Point of Honor. She was a Kentucky Oaks also-eligible and did not get to run that day. That race would not have set up for her, but this one sure did.

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Kentucky Oaks 2019 was a big disappointment from a handicapping standpoint. There was a ton of pace in the paper race but quick fractions never materialized and Serengeti Empress stole the show in front running fashion. Liora was 2nd and Lady Apple held the show. My top choice Champagne Anyone was too far back early and ended up 4th.

Next up for the sophomore fillies is the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (G2) at Pimlico on Friday, May 17, and once again there is plenty of pace on paper. Morning line favorite Point of Honor was stuck on the also-eligible list in the Kentucky Oaks and did not get in. If the expected race shape unfolds as expected, she should be a tough customer in the lane.

Jarrod’s Black-Eyed Susan Stakes 2019 Analysis – Pimlico Race 11 (5-17-19)

#8 POINT OF HONOR (5-2) – No pace help GP Oaks (G2). Won first two starts. Big late threat owns rising Digest numbers.

#6 Always Shopping (4-1) – Won last two stakes at 9f. Tactical speed and ascending Final Ratings.

#2 Off Topic (8-1) – Improving filly for John Velazquez and Todd Pletcher. Needs pace help.

#7 Brill (5-1) – $1 million purchase better this year. 9f too far? Best number yet in April 12 Fantasy (G3).

Black-Eyed Susan Wagers:

#8 to win

Exacta Box 6-8

Trifecta 6-8/2-6-7-8/2-6-7-8

Trifecta 2-7/2-6-7-8/2-6-7-8

Trifecta 6-8/ALL/6-8

KENTUCKY OAKS 2019 UPDATE: SERENGETI EMPRESS WIRES THE FIELD

Serengeti Empress went straight to the front and was never headed in Kentucky Oaks 2019. Liora made a run at her in the lane but could not go by and settled for the place. The top two were well clear of show finisher Lady Apple, and Champagne Anyone rallied to finish 4th. Post time favorite Bellafina was 5th.

There was plenty of pace in the paper race but that is not the way the race was run at Churchill Downs on Friday.

———-

​The Kentucky Oaks 2019 blog series is coming to an end. The big race is tomorrow and there is plenty of pace in the paper race. I will share my final “Fabulous Five” Oaks contenders and analysis. I will return with one final blog recapping the Oaks results.

Jarrod Horak’s Fabulous Five Kentucky Oaks 2019 Contenders (5-2-19)

#1 – BELLAFINA – Ky Oaks favorite looked sharp in SA Oaks (G1). Not sure about her at 9f.

#2 – RESTLESS RIDER – Very good 2nd in Ashland (G1) return. Final Oaks work not great and stuck in post 14.

#3 – LIORA – Rachel Alexandra (G2) & FG Oaks (G2) runner-up should be forwardly placed on Friday.

#4 – FLOR DE LA MAR – SA Oaks (G1) runner-up is one of several early runners in Oaks.

#5 – STREET BAND – Improving FG Oaks (G2) winner must work out a trip from a tough outer post.

Jarrod’s Kentucky Oaks 2019 Analysis – Churchill Downs Race 11 (5-3-19)

Top Pick:

#10 Champagne Anyone (6-1) added blinkers and earned much improved Today’s Racing Digest numbers in her GP Oaks (G2) victory. She is a quality finisher in a race with plenty of pace to chase.

Live Exotics Contender:

#2 Chocolate Kisses (20-1) is training forwardly for this and her ability to pass horses is a big plus in this event. I think that she can land a share at square odds.

The Oaks Wagers:

#10 to win-place-show

Trifecta 10/2/ALL

Trifecta 10/ALL/2

​———-

All that is left is final works and the post position draw for Kentucky Oaks 2019 hopefuls, and likely favorite Bellafina put in her final serious move at Santa Anita Park on Friday, April 26. There seems to be plenty of speed signed on for the Oaks, and Bellafina likes to be forwardly placed. She is the one to beat but the combination of a fast pace and the nine furlong distance could trip her up.

Kentucky Oaks Points Leaderboard (from Churchill Oaks points list through 4-26-19)

1. Bellafina – 132 points

2. Champagne Anyone – 113 points

3. Street Band – 105 points

4. Lady Apple – 100 points

5. Out for a Spin – 100 points

6. Liora – 71 points

7. Restless Rider – 62 points

8. Serengeti Empress – 60 points

9. Motion Emotion – 60 points

10. Jaywalk – 55 points

11. Chocolate Kisses – 51 points

12. Jeltrin – 51 points

13. Positive Spirit – 50 points

14. Flor de La Mar – 40 points

15. Cookie Dough – 40 points

16. Dunbar Road – 40 points

17. Brill – 22 points

18. Point of Honor – 20 points

Jarrod Horak’s Fabulous Five Kentucky Oaks 2019 Contenders (4-26-19)

#1 – BELLAFINA – Ky Oaks favorite looked sharp in SA Oaks (G1). Worked 5f in 1:01 flat at SA on April 26.

#2 – RESTLESS RIDER – Very good 2nd in Ashland (G1) return. Breezed 5f in 59.80 at CD April 20.

#3 – LIORA – Rachel Alexandra (G2) & FG Oaks (G2) runner-up has worked three times at CD (5f in 59.60 April 26).

#4 – FLOR DE LA MAR – SA Oaks (G1) runner-up drilled 5f gate bullet at SA on April 26.

#5 – STREET BAND – Improving FG Oaks winner breezed 5f in 1:00.40 at CD on April 22.

———-

The final Kentucky Oaks 2019 points race took place at Oaklawn Park on Friday, April 12, and Lady Apple ran by Mixed Emotion to win by the Fantasy Stakes (G2) by a length.

Kentucky Oaks 2019 Points Race Recaps

Fantasy Stakes (G3) Recap from Oaklawn Park (4-12-19) – Winner: Lady Apple ($21.60)

Lady Apple sat the perfect trip in this 8.5 furlong affair. Mixed Emotion set the pace as expected, but I was concerned that she would use too much early energy. Plus, she was never going to offer any wagering value under Mike Smith. She gamely hung in there throughout and swatted away my top choice Brill. Her test was not complete, because Lady Apple was stalking the pace and lurking inside, and she squeezed through in the stretch and won by a length under Ricardo Santana Jr. Mixed Emotion was a bit less than a length in front of Brill for 2nd, and they were followed across the line by Orra Moor, Irish Mischief, Cosmic Code, Super Tap, Destiny Over Fate, K P Slickem, Oxy Lady, and Filly Joel.

Kentucky Oaks Points Leaderboard (from Churchill Oaks points list through 4-19-19)

1. Bellafina – 132 points

2. Champagne Anyone – 113 points

3. Street Band – 105 points

4. Lady Apple – 100 points

5. Out for a Spin – 100 points

6. Liora – 71 points

7. Restless Rider – 62 points

8. Serengeti Empress – 60 points

9. Mixed Emotion – 60 points

10. Jaywalk – 55 points

11. Chocolate Kisses – 51 points

12. Jeltrin – 51 points

13. Positive Spirit – 50 points

14. Flor de La Mar – 40 points

15. Cookie Dough – 40 points

16. Dunbar Road – 40 points

17. Eres Tu – 24 points

18. Brill – 22 points

19. Sweet Diane – 22 points

20. Oxy Lady – 21 points

21. Point of Honor – 20 points

22. Naughty Joker – 20 points

23. Bizwhacks – 20 points

24. Orra Moor – 20 points

25. Off Topic – 20 points

Jarrod Horak’s Fabulous Five Kentucky Oaks 2019 Contenders (4-19-19)

#1 – BELLAFINA – Six-time graded winner looked sharp in SA Oaks (G1). Drilled bullet for Oaks April 19.

#2 – RESTLESS RIDER – Very good 2nd in Ashland (G1) return. Ready to move forward at Churchill Downs.

#3 – LIORA – Rachel Alexandra (G2) & FG Oaks (G2) runner-up has worked twice for Oaks including CD bullet April 17.

#4 – FLOR DE LA MAR – SA Oaks runner-up worked half-mile at SA on April 18 for Baffert (3 Oaks wins).

#5 – STREET BAND – Improving FG Oaks winner fired bullet at CD on April 15 for Larry Jones (3 Oaks wins).

———-

​The final Kentucky Oaks 2019 points race will take place at Oaklawn Park on Friday, April 12, and Mixed Emotion is the one to catch and beat in the Fantasy Stakes (G2). Bellafina stamped herself as the clear Kentucky Oaks favorite with a strong victory in the SA Oaks (G1) on Saturday, April 6.

Kentucky Oaks 2019 Points Race Analysis for Friday (4-12-19)

OP 8 (G2 Fantasy, 8.5f) #9 BRILL (7-2) exits a clear place finish as the beaten favorite in a local sprint March 22 (solid 120 Final Rating), and that was her first start in more than five months. It is a good sign that the $1 million purchase returned with her highest speed figure since her winning DMR debut (129 Final Rating), and she might sit the right stalking trip behind the speed. Multiple graded winner and divisional leader Bellafina beat her twice last year and she is a strong win contender if she handles two turns. #10 Orra Moor (4-1) cruised in her first two sprints and exits a solid 3rd in the Busher at one mile around one turn. Her TRD numbers are on the rise, I like the distance progression (5.5f, 6f, 8f, 8.5f), and she projects an outer stalking trip in this spot. #8 Mixed Emotion (5-2) looks like a need to lead type and there are others with speed in this event. She is probably quicker than these early but needs to relax on the lead to win this and will almost certainly take too much win action under Mike Smith. #12 Oxy Lady (6-1) probably would have won the Busher with a better trip and she showed good determination to get up for 2nd as my top choice that day. She might be best at one mile and must overcome a tough draw. The Plays: #9 to win, Exacta 9/8-10-12, Exacta 8-10-12/9, Trifecta 9-10/8-9-10-12/8-9-10-12

Kentucky Oaks 2019 Points Race Recaps

Ashland (G1) Recap from Keeneland (4-6-19) – Winner: Out for a Spin ($106.20)

The Keeneland main track was speed favoring on Saturday, and 2-year-old filly champion Jaywalk was in front early while facing pressure from Out for a Spin. The latter had a narrow advantage in the stretch and faced an immediate challenge from Restless Rider. Out for a Spin dug in and held on by a neck in a solid effort, but the runner-up is the one to watch in the Kentucky Oaks. Ken McPeek’s filly was making her first start since a runner-up finish in the BC Juvenile Fillies (G1), and this was a great start to her 3-year-old season. She sat in 5th early and turned in a strong effort under Brian Hernandez Jr. She should be fitter next time. Jaywalk lost for the second time in as many sophomore starts and it looks like she has not progressed from age 2 to 3. She was a clear 3rd, with Bizwhacks, Lady Kate (troubled start), Chocolate Kisses, and Bell’s the One following her across the line.

Gazelle (G2) Recap from Aqueduct (4-6-19) – Winner: Always Shopping ($9.90)

There was not much pace in the paper race and Positive Spirit was out front controlling proceedings. Always Shopping tracked from 2nd and was only a length back for much of the running, and slowly wore down the pacesetter while proving best by a bit less than two lengths. Todd Pletcher’s winner is versatile, well bred, and on the improve. Owner Mike Repole recently said that there is a good chance that she skips the Oaks and runs in the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (G2) at Pimlico on Preakness week instead. Her ultimate goal is the Alabama Stakes (G1) at Saratoga later this summer. Positive Spirit held 2nd by a neck and bounced back from a dreadful effort in the Rachel Alexandra Stakes (G2) at Fair Grounds. Last year’s romping Demoiselle (G2) winner might not go in the Oaks either, and is another with an eye on Saratoga. Off Topic checked in a solid 3rd for Pletcher, and was followed by Proud Emma, overbite favorite Espresso Shot, and Afleet Destiny.

Santa Anita Oaks (G1) Recap from Santa Anita Park (4-6-19) – Winner: Bellafina ($2.60)

Bellafina was a complete standout in this 4-horse affair, and she won like a favorite should. She pressed outside early under Flavien Prat, surged to the front approaching the stretch, and opened up to win by a very easy 5+ lengths. Flor de La Mar was so impressive in her local sprint debut on a fast track and put her mud debacle behind her with a solid place finish today. Chasing Yesterday could not keep up with the top two and Slewgoodtobetrue was the distant trailer. Bellafina is the strong Kentucky Oaks favorite, but the one thing that could stop her is the nine furlong distance. Flor de La Mar remains a promising sort and could end up being a decent runner for Baffert.

Beaumont Stakes (G3) Recap from Keeneland (4-7-19) – Winner: Fancy Dress Party ($7.40)

This extended sprint run on a sloppy (sealed) main track had no impact on the Kentucky Oaks, but it was an interesting race nonetheless. Fancy Dress Party established the early lead and the race was basically over before it began. Her lead continued to dwindle but she had enough left in the tank to win by a head. Mother Mother saved ground stalking from the rail but could not quite get to the winner. Bob Baffert’s filly did well to finish 2nd. Strong Chad Brown favorite Feeback stalked wide and was 10+ lengths clear of Another Time. Iva was the distant trailer in this compact field. I would be willing to give Feedback another chance on dry land next time. She won her first two starts, and this was her first outing since Feb. 2. A race like the Acorn Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park on June 8 could be on her radar screen.

Kentucky Oaks Points Leaderboard (from Churchill Downs Oaks points list – through 4-11-19)

1. Bellafina – 132 points

2. Champagne Anyone – 113 points

3. Street Band – 105 points

4. Out for a Spin – 100 points

5. Liora – 71 points

6. Restless Rider – 62 points

7. Serengeti Empress – 60 points

8. Jaywalk – 55 points

9. Chocolate Kisses – 51 points

10. Jeltrin – 51 points

11. Positive Spirit – 50 points

12. Flor de La Mar – 40 points

13. Cookie Dough – 40 points

14. Dunbar Road – 40 points

15. Eres Tu – 24 points

16. Sweet Diane – 22 points

17. Oxy Lady – 21 points

18. Point of Honor – 20 points

19. Naughty Joker – 20 points

20. Bizwhacks – 20 points

Jarrod Horak’s Fabulous Five Kentucky Oaks 2019 Contenders (4-11-19)

#1 – BELLAFINA – Six-time graded winner looked sharp in SA Oaks (G1). Must navigate 9f in Ky. Oaks.

#2 – RESTLESS RIDER – Very good 2nd in Ashland (G1) return. Ready to move forward at Churchill.

#3 – LIORA – Rachel Alexandra (G2) runner-up added blinkers and was second best again in FG Oaks (G2).

#4 – FLOR DE LA MAR – Back in top five after solid 2nd in SA Oaks (G1). Baffert’s filly has upside.

#5 – POINT OF HONOR – Got no pace help in GP Oaks (G2). Added distance in Ky. Oaks should help.

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A trio of big 100-40-20-10 Kentucky Oaks points races will be run on April 6, and there is a small 10-4-2-1 points race at Keeneland on April 7. Bellafina is the star of the weekend and the likely Kentucky Oaks favorite if she wins the Santa Anita Oaks (G1) on Saturday.

Kentucky Oaks 2019 Points Race Analysis for Saturday (4-6-19)

SA 3 (G1 SA Oaks, 8.5f) #5 Bellafina (2-5) is faster than these on paper and appears to be training well for this engagement. She is 3-for-3 at SA and probably wins this at low odds. #1 Flor de La Mar (5-1) looked great in her winning sprint debut on a fast track but did not seem to care for the slop in a fading 5th as the strong favorite at seven panels March 2. She is bred to be a good one and might rebound on dry land. #2 Chasing Yesterday (3-1) has not done much wrong with five wins from six starts. The tactical type reconnects with Mike Smith and should be fitter after winning the Sunland Oaks on class in her first start of the year. The Plays: Exacta 5-1

AQU 8 (G2 Gazelle, 9f) #4 POSITIVE SPIRIT (5-2) made nice progress last year and ended her 2-year-old season with a romping win at this course-distance in the Demoiselle (G2). She was terrible in the Rachel Alexandra (G2) at FG in her sophomore bow and that one was too bad to believe. Jose Ortiz takes the call, she fired a bullet for this March 24, and she should be close to tepid fractions. Actually, she could be loose on the lead if they send her out of there. #5 Always Shopping (3-1) broke her maiden in the Busanda at this course-distance Feb 3. The well-bred daughter of Awesome Again-Stopshoppingmaria is steadily improving for Pletcher and figures to stalk the pace. #6 Proud Emma (6-1) exits back-to-back good tries in the slop at SA and she won two straight on a fast track before that. This is a great spot to jump into the stakes ranks and she might be able to upset these with another forward move. #3 Off Topic (5-1) was only a 1/2 length behind her stablemate Always Shopping in a MSW affair last fall. Since that event, she graduated at the end of last year, and was a solid 2nd in her first start vs. winners Feb 17. She continues to slowly improve and should not mind this longer trip. The Plays: #4 to win, Exacta 4/3-5-6, Exacta 3-5-6/4

KEE 9 (G1 Ashland, 8.5f) #3 LADY KATE (15-1) is lightly raced and can compete her if she moves forward again. She rallied to win her dirt sprint bow at GP Jan 12 and did all of the pace dirty work in a solid place finish in her second career start in the Suncoast Feb 9. #6 Restless Rider (5-2) makes a belated sophomore bow for McPeek, and she was one of the top juvenile fillies in the land last year. She won the Alcibiades (G1) here last year and tightened the screws for this with a 5f bullet at GP March 30. She figures to stalk the pace and can win this if she has improved over the winter. #4 Jaywalk (8-5) was the deserving 2-year-old filly champion after back-to-back wins in the Frizette (G1) and BC Juvenile Fillies (G1) to end her 2018 campaign. She was terrible in her 3-year-old bow in the Davona Dale (G2) and figures to be aggressively handled in the route under her new rider Castellano. There is a good chance that she was short last time, but she might not have improved from age 2 to 3. #5 Feedback (3-1) was cross-entered in Sunday’s Beaumont (G2), and she is expected to go in that spot for Chad Brown. The Plays: #3 to win, Exacta 3/4-6, Exacta 4-6/3

Kentucky Oaks 2019 Points Race Recaps for Saturday (3-30-19)

Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) Recap from Gulfstream Park (3-30-19) – Winner: Champagne Anyone ($17.20)

This was not a deep field for an Oaks prep with only six going to the gate. Speed was king at Gulfstream on March 30, and the top three finishers in this race controlled proceedings throughout. Cookie Dough set the pace from the outside post but figured to have distance limitations. Champagne Anyone tracked from 2nd, took the lead in the lane, and held off highly regarded Chad Brown second timer Dunbar Road to win by a 1/2 length. The latter stalked the pace in 3rd and was grinding away in the lane but could not quite get to the more experienced winner. Cookie Dough held 3rd and Point of Honor was the only runner trying to make up any ground on the top three but was done in by the speed favoring oval. She needs more ground and a fair racetrack. Safta was next and it was a long way back to Bella Ciao.

Kentucky Oaks Points Leaderboard (through 4-5-19)

1. Champagne Anyone – 113 points

2. Street Band – 105 points

3. Liora – 71 points

4. Chasing Yesterday – 60 points

5. Serengeti Empress – 60 points

6. Chocolate Kisses – 51 points

7. Jeltrin – 51 points

8. Espresso Shot – 50 points

9. Cookie Dough – 40 points

10. Dunbar Road – 40 points

11. Jaywalk – 35 points

12. Bellafina – 32 points

13. Eres Tu – 24 points

14. Restless Rider – 22 points

15. Sweet Diane – 22 points

16. Oxy Lady – 21 points

17. Point of Honor – 20 points

18. Naughty Joker – 20 points

19. Motion Emotion – 20 points

20. Positive Spirit – 10 points

Jarrod Horak’s Fabulous Five Kentucky Oaks 2019 Contenders (4-5-19)

#1 – BELLAFINA – Wrapped up April 6 SA Oaks (G1) preparations with solid 5f move March 30.

#2 – RESTLESS RIDER – Fired 5f bullet March 30 and is set for 3-year-old bow in April 6 Ashland (G1).

#3 – JAYWALK – Shipped to Keelenand and worked half-mile for April 6 Ashland (G1) March 31.

#4 – LIORA – Rachel Alexandra (G2) runner-up added blinkers and was second best again in Fair Grounds Oaks (G2).

#5 – POSITIVE SPIRIT – Giving her another chance in April 6 Gazelle (G2) after Rachel Alexandra (G2) clunker.

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There is a single Kentucky Oaks 2019 points race this weekend, and the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) looks like a match race between Point of Honor and Dunbar Road.

Kentucky Oaks 2019 Points Race Analysis

GP 8 (G2 GP Oaks, 8.5f) #3 POINT OF HONOR (9-5) is 2-for-2 and I like that she was the favorite in both of those routes including the Suncoast at Tampa Bay Feb 9 (field-best 143 Final Rating). The highly regarded daughter of Curlin figures to stalk the pace and could easily win again. #6 Dunbar Road (8-5) was outstanding in her local flat mile debut as the favorite March 3 (131 Final Rating). She could easily be this good for Ortiz Jr./Brown, but Point of Honor is no slouch, and she will have to run faster at a slightly longer distance in her first start vs. winners. The Plays: Exacta 3-6

Kentucky Oaks 2019 Points Race Recaps

Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) Recap from Fair Grounds (3-23-19) – Winner: Street Band ($23.80)

This was supposed to be an easy wire job victory for Serengeti Empress, but she bled and was eased (vanned off) after leading the way for the first six furlongs. Street Band stalked the pace and took full advantage of the favorite’s misfortune with an easy 3+ length tally for Sophie Doyle and Larry Jones. Rachel Alexandra Stakes (G2) runner-up Liora was second best again, and was followed by Sweet Diane, Eres Tu, Speedette, Slewgoodtobetrue, and Serengeti Empress.

Sunland Oaks Recap from Sunland Park (3-23-19) – Winner: Chasing Yesterday ($2.10)

This was basically a paid workout for Chasing Yesterday after the defection of Bellafina. The Bob Baffert runner did not have the smoothest start and ended up stalking wide under Joe Talamo. She pulled clear in the stretch and proved best by about a length and a quarter. This was her first start of the year and she should be fitter next time. She has racked up more than enough points to run in the Kentucky Oaks. K P Slickem was my live longshot to complete the exacta and she battled hard throughout under Tyler Baze and held 2nd by a neck at 36-1. Backflash was a solid 3rd and was followed by Figure, Enlisting, Victim of Love, Parade of Roses, and Peaceoutyourhonor. As for Bellafina, she will go next in the SA Oaks on April 6.

Kentucky Oaks Points Leaderboard (through 3-29-19)

1. Street Band – 105 points

2. Liora – 71 points

3. Chasing Yesterday – 60 points

4. Serengeti Empress – 60 points

5. Chocolate Kisses – 51 points

6. Jeltrin – 51 points

7. Espresso Shot – 50 points

8. Jaywalk – 35 points

9. Bellafina – 32 points

10. Eres Tu – 24 points

11. Restless Rider – 22 points

12. Sweet Diane – 22 points

13. Oxy Lady – 21 points

14. Naughty Joker – 20 points

15. Motion Emotion – 20 points

Jarrod Horak’s Fabulous Five Kentucky Oaks 2019 Contenders (3-29-19)

#1 – BELLAFINA – Easy 5f move on March 24. Santa Anita Oaks (G1) next on April 6.

#2 – RESTLESS RIDER – Had sixth workout of the year March 23. Ashland (G1) on April 6 is her next target.

#3 – JAYWALK – Champion filly has worked twice since March 2 Davona Dale flop. Ashland up next.

#4 – LIORA – Rachel Alexandra (G2) runner-up added blinkers and was second best again in Fair Grounds Oaks (G2).

#5 – POINT OF HONOR – Goes for third route win from as many starts in GP Oaks (G2) March 30.

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There are a couple of Kentucky Oaks 2019 points race this weekend. Serengeti Empress tries to make it back-to-back graded route wins in the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) on Saturday, March 23, and last year’s Los Alamitos Starlet (G1) winner Chasing Yesterday makes her much anticipated seasonal bow in the Sunland Park Oaks on Sunday, March 24.

Kentucky Oaks 2019 Points Race Analysis

FG 12 (G2 Fair Grounds Oaks, 8.5f) #2 SERENGETI EMPRESS (6-5) has a reputation as a need to lead type and it is a good sign that she returned with her best effort yet (field-best 155 Pace + 144 Final Rating) in the Rachel Alexandra (G2). They probably won’t catch her if she is all alone up front in the early going, and that could easily happen in a race without much pace. #7 Slewgoodtobetrue (8-1) finished 2nd in her first two sprints last year and returned with back-to-back two turn wins at SA in 2019. She owns tactical speed and should sit a nice trip under Florent Geroux. #8 Liora (5-1) bounced back with an okay place finish in the Rachel Alexandra and Wayne Catalano has strong stats with the blinkers on move. She will probably track the favorite from the outside post and might give that one a battle with another forward move. She drilled a bullet for this March 12. #6 Eres Tu (6-1) was 2nd in the Silverbulletday and 3rd in the Rachel Alexandra. Her numbers are on the rise for Steve Asmussen and she fired a bullet for this March 4. Jose Ortiz takes the call. The Plays: Exacta 2-7, Trifecta Key 2/6-7-8

SUN 9 (Sunland Oaks, 8.5f) #7 CHASING YESTERDAY (9-5) looks much better than these for Bob Baffert (six Sunland Oaks wins). She went 4-for-5 as a juvenile (3 stakes wins) and proved that she could handle a route of ground in the Los Alamitos Starlet (G1) last time (134 Final Rating). She found a great return spot and figures to stalk the pace under Drayden Van Dyke. #8 Enlisting (5-1) took off on a good track in her romping flat mile maiden win at Santa Anita Feb 15. This is good spot to take a shot at stakes glory in her first start after the Hess Jr. claim. Kent D hops aboard and an outside stalking trip is expected. #1 Victim of Love (4-1) won her last three starts at one mile including the Island Fashion Feb 24. She should be forwardly placed from the rail. #6 K P Slickem (8-1) was my top choice in the local prep for this (Island Fashion) and she ended up an okay 3rd at 6-1. She adds blinkers for sharp trainer Weston Martin and might be able to spice up the exotics under Tyler Baze. #9 Bellafina (7-5) towers over these but is expected to scratch and wait for the SA Oaks on April 6. The Plays: Exacta 7-6, Trifecta Key 7/1-6-8

Kentucky Oaks 2019 Points Race Recaps

Busher from Aqueduct (3-9-19) – Winner: Espresso Shot ($10.20)

Four horses mixed it up early and that set the table for the patient runners. Espresso Shot was lingering near the back of the pace for the first half-mile and had the best trip while prevailing by a bit less than a length. Oxy Lady would have won with a better trip but got shut off in the stretch and recovered nicely to land the place. Orra Moor nipped Please Flatter Me for the show and they were followed by Filly Joel, Enliven, Dovey Lovey, Excess Capacity, and Ujjayi. I do not think we saw the Kentucky Oaks winner in this heat.

Honeybee (G3) from Oaklawn Park (3-9-19)- Winner: Chocolate Kisses ($17.00)

Motion Emotion had a clear lead for much of the running and held them all off except Chocolate Kisses. The latter raced near the back of the pack for the first half of the race and had a bit more stamina than the runner-up. California shipper Bizwhacks was well clear of the rest in 3rd and was followed by Sunset Wish, Perfect Reins, Ultimate Mo, Power Gal, Raintree Starlet, Best Kept Secret, and Marathon Queen (eased). This was not a strong Kentucky Oaks prep.

Bourbonette Oaks from Turfway Park (3-9-19) – Winner: Naughty Joker ($6.00)

This all-weather route was a weak Kentucky Oaks prep, and post time favorite Naughty Joker stalked the pace and prevailed by a bit less than two lengths for Rafael Bejarano and Wesley Ward. Fun Finder set the pace and held the place over New Roo, and Diva Day rounded out the superfecta. Unapologetic Me, Into Trouble, Malibu Party, Channel Princess, Birdie, Gold Credit, and Red Rounder completed the order of finish.

Kentucky Oaks Points Leaderboard (through 3-22-19)

1. Serengeti Empress – 60 points

2. Chocolate Kisses – 51 points

3. Jeltrin – 51 points

4. Espresso Shot – 50 points

5. Jaywalk – 35 points

6. Bellafina – 32 points

7. Liora – 31 points

8. Restless Rider – 22 points

9. Oxy Lady – 21 points

10. Naughty Joker – 20 points

11. Motion Emotion – 20 points

12. Cookie Dough – 20 points

13. Eres Tu – 14 points

14. Champagne Anyone – 13 points

15. Chasing Yesterday – 10 points

Jarrod Horak’s Fabulous Five Kentucky Oaks 2019 Contenders (3-22-19)

#1 – BELLAFINA – Drilled strong bullet March 18 and has been rerouted from Sunland Oaks to SA Oaks (April 6).

#2 – SERENGETI EMPRESS – Goes for back-to-back front running wins in Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) March 23.

#3 – RESTLESS RIDER – Consistent filly had her fifth workout of the year at Gulfstream Park March 16.

#4 – JAYWALK – Champion filly worked for first time since Davona Dale flop March 16. Ashland up next (April 6).

#5 – LIORA – Rachel Alexandra (G2) runner-up will add blinkers in Fair Grounds Oaks (G2).

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There are a trio of Kentucky Oaks 2019 points race this week and my recent Martha Washington Stakes top pick winner Power Gal returns to action at Oaklawn Park in the Honeybee (G3).

Kentucky Oaks 2019 Points Race Analysis

Busher from Aqueduct (3-9-19)

AQU 11 (Busher, 8f) #3 OXY LADY (5-1) ran her best race by far in her lone local outing in the Tempted (G3) last year. After that, she was an okay 4th in the Starlet (G1), and raced wide and failed to deliver in her Rachel Alexandra (G2) return. Looking at her overall form, she sure looks like a miler, and Javier Castellano takes the call. #11 Always Shopping (4-1) is steadily improving for Todd Pletcher and she looked good earning her diploma in the Busanda at Aqueduct Feb. 3. That last win was at a mile and an eighth and she probably wants more ground. #12 Orra Moor (6-1) easily won both dirt sprints at Gulfstream and a one-turn mile should be well within reach. John Velazquez rides back for Todd Pletcher and an outside stalking trip is expected. The Plays: #3 to win, Exacta 3/11-12, Exacta 11-12/3

Honeybee (G3) from Oaklawn Park (3-9-19)

OP 9 (G3 Honeybee, 8.5f) #6 POWER GAL (9-2) is on the upswing for Mark Casse and she stretched out and won the Martha Washington as my top choice Feb. 2 (career best FIRE, CPR, Final Rating). She gets pace to chase and might be able to move forward and win again. #3 Sunset Wish (6-1) did not have smooth sailing in the paceless Martha Washington last time. She was a nose away from four straight wins prior to her last and might be able to bounce back while saving ground stalking the pace. #2 Motion Emotion (3-1) went all the way in both local starts and handled two turns just fine in a runaway entry level win Feb. 17. #4 Bizwhacks (12-1) stretched out and easily graduated in the slop Feb. 3 and the runner-up was a romping next-out winner as the chalk March 2. She also handled two turns on turf last year and might be getting good at the right time for Doug O’Neil. The Plays: #6 to win, Exacta 6/2-3-4, Exacta 2-3-4/6, Trifecta 3-6/2-3-4-6/2-3-4-6

Bourbonette Oaks from Turfway Park (3-9-19)

TP 10 (Bourbonette Oaks, 8f) Malcolm Franklin booted home three of these at Turfway and decided to stick with #11 DIVA DAY (15-1). She overcame trouble to graduate from the outside post in her sprint bow and Drury Jr. has strong stats with his synthetic route runners (9-for-18). She should get better as distances increase (English Channel – Seattle Slew pedigree). #5 Into Trouble (4-1) ran well in all three extended sprints including a sharp win in her lone all-weather outing in the Arlington-Washington Lassie last September. She hooked a runaway winner in her Tampa Bay return and might go better on synthetic for Colebrook. #6 Red Rounder (5-1) would not be the first turf specialist to handle all-weather ground. She went all the way in her first two turf starts at this distance last year and I liked her effort in the Ginger Brew Jan. 5. #9 Unapologetic Me (6-1) hit the board in her last three turf routes and reconnects with her winning rider Gaffalione. She figures to stalk the pace. The Plays: #11 to win, Exacta 11/5-6-9, Exacta 5-6-9/11

Kentucky Oaks 2019 Points Race Recaps

Davona Dale (G2) Recap (3-2-19) – Winner: Jeltrin ($105.00)

This was supposed to be a walk in the park for Jaywalk but that was not the case. Cookie Dough went straight to the lead with Jaywalk angling out from the inside post to press the issue. They remained 1-2 for the opening six furlongs and stalker Jeltrin joined the fray in the stretch. Jaywalk was the first to crack and Jeltrin kept coming after Cookie Dough and got her head down late to spring the upset. Cookie Dough was clearly second best and my underneath longshot key Champagne Anyone got up for the show. Jaywalk weakened to 4th in a puzzling effort. She dominated the paper race but returned with a flat effort. Maybe she was not fit enough, or she might not have developed from age two to three. She deserves another chance but I do not trust her at this stage. The order of finish was completed by Bold Script, Another Time, and High Regard.

Kentucky Oaks Points Leaderboard (through 3-8-19)

1. Serengeti Empress – 60 points

2. Jeltrin – 51 points

3. Jaywalk – 35 points

4. Bellafina – 32 points

5. Liora – 31 points

6. Restless Rider – 22 points

7. Eres Tu – 14 points

8. Champagne Anyone – 13 points

9. Chasing Yesterday – 10 points

10. Positive Spirit – 10 points

Jarrod Horak’s Fabulous Five Kentucky Oaks 2019 Contenders (3-8-19)

#1 – BELLAFINA – Five-time graded winner most recently worked half-mile in 49.60 March 1.

#2 – SERENGETI EMPRESS – Wired the field in Rachel Alexandra (G2). Worked 4f in 49.00 March 6.

#3 – RESTLESS RIDER – Consistent filly had her third workout of the year at Gulfstream Park March 1.

#4 – JAYWALK – Champion two-year-old filly was disappointing 4th in Davona Dale (G2) return.

#5 – LIORA – Rachel Alexandra (G2) runner-up returns to the top five. Breezed 4f in 49.20 March 3.

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The lone Kentucky Oaks 2019 points race this week is the Davona Dale from Gulfstream Park on Saturday, March 2, and juvenile filly champion Jaywalk is the overwhelming 2-5 morning line favorite.

Kentucky Oaks 2019 Points Race Analysis

Davona Dale (G2) from Gulfstream Park (3-2-19)

GP 12 (G2 Davona Dale, 8T) #1 JAYWALK (2-5) is the 2-year-old filly champ making her first start since a strong front running win in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1). This is just a starting point for the early Kentucky Oaks favorite but she looks better than her rivals today (138, 147 FR last 2). #5 Champagne Anyone (6-1) should be able to complete the exacta. Her numbers have been steadily rising after five starts and this one mile distance around one turn looks perfect. She exits a solid 3rd in the local Forward Gal (G3) at seven panels. THE PLAYS: Exacta 1-5

Kentucky Oaks Points Leaderboard (through 3-1-19)

1. Serengeti Empress – 60 points

2. Divine Image – 50 points

3. Bellafina – 32 points

4. Liora – 31 points

5. Jaywalk – 30 points

6. Restless Rider – 22 points

7. Swift Rose – 20 points

8. Eres Tu – 20 points

9. Chasing Yesterday – 10 points

10. Positive Spirit – 10 points

Jarrod Horak’s Fabulous Five Kentucky Oaks 2019 Contenders (3-1-19)

#1 – JAYWALK – Champion two-year-old filly makes first start of year in Davona Dale (G2) March 1.

#2 – BELLAFINA – Five-time graded winner worked half-mile at Santa Anita March 1.

#3 – SERENGETI EMPRESS – Fleet filly wired the field in Rachel Alexandra (G2). She is a need to lead type.

#4 – FLOR DE LA MAR – Bob Baffert’s promising filly makes second career start at Santa Anita March 2.

#5 – RESTLESS RIDER – Consistent filly had her third workout of the year at Gulfstream Park March 1.

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Serengeti Empress is the new Kentucky Oaks 2019 points leader after wiring the field in the Rachel Alexandra Stakes (G2) at Fair Grounds on Feb. 16. The next Oaks points race is the Davona Dale at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, March 2.

Kentucky Oaks 2019 Points Race Recaps

Rachel Alexandra (G2) Stakes Recap (2-16-19) – Winner: Serengeti Empress

This was the first points race worth 50-20-10-5 to the top four finishers, and Serengeti Empress made short work of this group. She looked like a need to lead type heading into this event, and all signed pointed to her controlling the pace. She figured to be on the engine in her first start since last fall, and her new rider James Graham took advantage of an inner draw and hustled her out of the gate. She was never seriously threatened and won by more than four lengths. It is a good sign that she ran faster in her sophomore debut, and her fractions and final time matched up very well with War of Will and company in the Risen Star (G2). The Rachel Alexandra splits were 24.02, 48.71, 1:12.45, and 1:37.89, with a final time of 1:44.74. The Risen Star was run in 23.71, 47.36, 1:12.20, 1:37.87, and 1:44.59. Liora gamely chased the leader throughout and safely held 2nd over late runner Eres Tu. Street Band made a middle move before flattening out to finish 4th, and was followed by Needs Supervision, Oxy Lady, Molto Bello, and a very disappointing Positive Spirit. The winner proved once again that she is dangerous when allowed to dictate terms.

UAE Oaks Recap (2-21-19) – Winner: Divine Image

I am not sure about this Oaks prep race in Dubai, but Divine Image picked up 50 points and is just about guaranteed a spot in the starting gate at Churchill Downs if she comes to the states for Godolphin. The promising daughter of Scat Daddy seems to have plenty of stamina and might go in the UAE Derby next. Swift Rose almost stole this one but Divine Image unleashed a nice late run to win by a neck.

Kentucky Oaks Points Leaderboard (through UAE Oaks 2-21-19)

1. Serengeti Empress – 60 points

2. Divine Image – 50 points

3. Bellafina – 32 points

4. Liora – 31 points

5. Jaywalk – 30 points

6. Restless Rider – 22 points

7. Swift Rose – 20 points

8. Eres Tu – 20 points

9. Chasing Yesterday – 10 points

10. Positive Spirit – 10 points

Jarrod Horak’s Fabulous Five Kentucky Oaks 2019 Contenders (2-22-19)

#1 – JAYWALK – Champion two-year-old filly breezed six panels in 1:12.40 at Palm Meadows on Feb. 13.

#2 – BELLAFINA – Not quite as sharp in Las Virgenes (G2) win on Feb. 9 and stamina questions linger.

#3 – SERENGETI EMPRESS – Fleet filly wired the field in Rachel Alexandra (G2). She is a need to lead type.

#4 – FLOR DE LA MAR – Fine winning debut for Baffert trainee at Santa Anita Jan. 20. She worked a solid 6f Feb. 20.

#5 – RESTLESS RIDER – Consistent filly fired exacta shots in all six starts. She returned to work tab Feb. 16.

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Bellafina is the new Kentucky Oaks 2019 points leader after wiring the field in the Las Virgenes (G2) at Santa Anita Park on Feb. 9. The lone Oaks points race this weekend is the Rachel Alexandra Stakes (G2) at Fair Grounds on Saturday, Feb. 16.

Kentucky Oaks 2019 Points Race Analysis (2-16-19)

FG 11 (G2 Rachel Alexandra, 8.5f) #4 POSITIVE SPIRIT (5-1) ran well in all four starts as a juvenile and earned her best numbers yet in an outstanding 10-length romp in the Demoiselle (73 FIRE, 124 CPR, 126 Pace + Final Rating). Afleet Destiny and Filly Joel were 2nd and 3rd in the Demoiselle, and they occupied those same spots in the Busanda at Aqueduct Feb 2. Fourth place finisher Molto Bella returned to romp in the Gasparilla Stakes at Tampa Bay and is also entered here. The tactical type drew well and should not have any excuses in her sophomore bow. #3 Serengeti Empress (6-1) conceded the early lead to Jaywalk in the BC Juvenile Fillies (G1) in her last start. That rival kept on going and this filly retreated to 7th. She went all the way in her previous two stakes starts and her new rider Graham will almost certainly get aggressive in this spot. She fired a local bullet for this Jan 27. #6 Oxy Lady (6-1) exits an okay 4th in the Starlet (G1) and ran away with the Tempted (G3) before that. She has definitely improved since adding blinkers but the Tempted was a negative race last year and I am not sure how good she is. #2 Street Band (20-1) is interesting for Larry Jones. She stalked from an inner post and earned improved numbers in a local optional claiming route win Jan. 13. She drew well and should sit another nice ground saving stalking trip under Sophie Doyle. #10 Chasing Yesterday drew the outside post and will not make the trip from California for trainer Bob Baffert. The Plays: #4 to win, Exacta 4/2-3-6, Exacta 2-3-6/4

Kentucky Oaks 2019 Points Race Recaps

Suncoast Stakes from Tampa Bay Downs (2-9-19) – Winner: Point of Honor ($7.00)

Point of Honor stalked wide and ran down Lady Kate to win by 2+ lengths under Javier Castellano. The winner is 2-for-2 (both dirt route wins) and should continue to improve but must run faster to make a dent in upcoming graded points races. Lady Kate is the one I want out of this affair. She did all of the pace dirty work and fought hard to the end in a clear place finish. She only had a single sprint race under her belt and has a bright future. Sweet Diane stalked wide from the outside post and was best of the rest in 3rd. Winning Envelope held off Her Royal Highness to complete the superfecta, and they were followed by Twixt and Shout, Here Comes Jackie, and fading front runner Tapit’s Princess.

Grade 2 Las Virgenes Stakes Recap (2-9-19) – Winner: Bellafina ($2.20)

Bellafina is clearly one of the better sophomore fillies in the land, but there has always been a question of stamina, and those route questions still linger after today’s victory. The overwhelming favorite did not have an alert beginning but recovered quickly and Flavien Prat went to the front on the good main track. Mother Mother figured to set the pace but was content to track Bellafina today. The Baffert trainee hounded the chalk throughout but failed to quicken in the lane. Enaya Alrabb stalked inside and gave Bellafina a scare in the lane but the multiple graded stakes winner held sway to win by a bit less than a length. Enaya Alrabb ran a very big race to finish a clear 2nd and is definitely on the upswing for Doug O’Neill. She proved that her head defeat at 40-1 odds in the Starlet (G1) late last year was not a fluke. Calf Moon Bay picked off a tired Mother Mother to complete the trifecta. Tomlin was a distant last.

Kentucky Oaks Points Leaderboard (through Las Virgenes 2-9-19)

1. Bellafina – 32 points

2. Jaywalk – 30 points

3. Restless Rider – 22 points

4. Liora – 11 points

5. Chasing Yesterday – 10 points

6. Serengeti Empress – 10 points

7. Positive Spirit – 10 points

8. Needs Supervision – 10 points

9. Feedback – 10 points

10. Power Gal – 10 points

Jarrod Horak’s Fabulous Five Kentucky Oaks 2019 Contenders (2-14-19)

#1 – JAYWALK – Champion two-year-old filly breezed six panels in 1:12.40 at Palm Meadows on Feb. 13.

#2 – POSITIVE SPIRIT – Runaway Demoiselle (G2) winner makes 2019 bow in Rachel Alexandra (G2) on Feb. 16.

#3 – BELLAFINA – Not quite as sharp in Las Virgenes (G2) win on Feb. 9 and stamina questions linger.

#4 – FLOR DE LA MAR – Outstanding debut for Baffert’s filly at Santa Anita Jan. 20. She worked five panels Feb. 13.

#5 – RESTLESS RIDER – Consistent filly fired exacta shots in all six starts. She will only have one Oaks prep.

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​The Kentucky Oaks 2019 trail is starting to heat up. There were a trio of points races last weekend, and two more are on the docket for Saturday, Feb. 9.

Kentucky Oaks 2019 Points Race Analysis for Saturday (2-9-19)

SA 5 (G2 Las Virgenes, 8f) #3 BELLAFINA (2-5) is going to win this race for fun if she duplicates her Santa Ynez (G2) romp Jan. 6. The 4-time graded winner is 2-for-2 at SA and today’s added furlong is well within her reach. She can set the pace or sit and pounce under Prat. #2 Enaya Alraab (4-1) is light raced and on the upswing for O’Neill. She almost pulled off a 30-1 surprise in the Starlet (G1) Dec. 8. She graduated in a flat mile special weight affair at SA last fall. Wagers: Exacta 3-2

TAM 9 (Suncoast, 1 mile 40 yards) #1 HER ROYAL HIGHNESS (8-1) has only lost once in three outings and that was a place finish behind subsequent Silverbulletday winner Needs Supervision. She drew well for Motion and projects a ground saving stalking trip. #4 Lady Kate (6-1) rallied to win her sprint debut at Gulfstream and that six furlong dash was probably too short for her. The $485k purchase is bred to route and could easily be competitive in this spot. Is she ready to stretch out and win a stakes race after a single sprint? #9 Sweet Diane (3-1) ran well in all three outings and her numbers are climbing. A wide stalking trip is expected and it bothers me that she blew a clear lead last time. #7 Point of Honor (6-1) romped as the chalk in a slow early/fast late route at Gulfstream Dec. 16 (originally scheduled for turf). The pace will be quicker and she will have to run faster to compete here. Castellano hops aboard. The Plays: #1 to win, Exacta 1/4-7-9, Exacta 4-7-9/1

Kentucky Oaks 2019 Points Race Recaps

Forward Gal Stakes (G3) from Gulfstream Park (2-2-19) – Winner: Feedback

Feedback made a successful return for trainer Chad Brown. She battled on the pace and gamely prevailed by a 1/2 length. It is not easy to win at seven panels off a layoff (first start in 5+ months) and she was not fully cranked for this engagement. She was much flashier in her romping Saratoga debut last summer and has every right to improve in her next start. Bye Bye J stalked the pace and gave the winner a scare but could not go past her and just held the place over my late running value top pick Champagne Anyone. Jeltrin was well clear of the rest in 4th and she was 124-1.

Martha Washington Stakes from Oaklawn Park (2-2-19) – Winner: Power Gal

This was a workmanlike effort turned in by Power Gal. She stalked outside and wore down early runners Marathon Queen and Taylor’s Spirit to win by a 1/2 length. The 2nd and 3rd place finishers were separated by a neck, and post time favorite was unruly at the gate and ended up an even 4th. The winner, trained by Mark Casse, figured to enjoy two turns and might continue to develop, but this was not a pleasing result from a visual or time standpoint. As for the betting, Power Gal was my top choice.

Busanda Stakes from Aqueduct (2-3-19) – Winner: Always Shopping

It was nice to see my top choice Always Shopping handle a mile and an eighth in this event, but this was probably not the strongest prep from top to bottom. The winner broke her maiden in this spot and sat the perfect stalking trip from the inside post. She got to front runner Filly Joel in the stretch and gradually pulled away to win by a length and a quarter. Filly Joel made most of the running and was clearly second best. Afleet Destiny rallied to finish a clear 3rd and Miss Marilyn chased the pace wide from the outside post and weakened to finish 4th. Afleet Destiny and Filly Joel somewhat flattered the Demoiselle (G2) form. They were a distant 2nd and 3rd behind Positive Spirit in that race last year.

Kentucky Oaks Points Leaderboard (through Busanda 2-3-19)

1. Jaywalk – 30 points

2. Restless Rider – 22 points

3. Bellafina – 22 points

4. Liora – 11 points

5. Chasing Yesterday – 10 points

6. Serengeti Empress – 10 points

7. Positive Spirit – 10 points

8. Needs Supervision – 10 points

9. Feedback – 10 points

10. Power Gal – 10 points

11. Always Shopping – 10 points

Jarrod Horak’s Fabulous Five Kentucky Oaks 2019 Contenders (2-8-19)

#1 – JAYWALK – Champion two-year-old filly breezed five panels at Palm Meadows on Feb. 6.

#2 – BELLAFINA – Looked great in Santa Ynez (G2) on Jan. 6 and goes next in the Las Virgenes (G2) on Feb. 9.

#3 – POSITIVE SPIRIT – Razor sharp Demoiselle (G2) winner breezed five furlongs at Payson Park on Feb. 2.

#4 – FLOR DE LA MAR – Fine debut for Baffert/Godolphin filly at Santa Anita Jan. 20. She worked five panels Feb. 8.

#5 – RESTLESS RIDER – Consistent filly fired exacta shots in all six starts. The grade one winner has yet to work this year.

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There have been a pair of Kentucky Oaks 2019 points races so far this year and Bellafina was by far the more impressive of the two winners. There are a trio of Oaks points races on the docket this weekend beginning with the Forward Gal (G3) at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 2.

Kentucky Oaks 2019 Points Race Analysis

Forward Gal Stakes (G3) from Gulfstream Park (2-2-19)

GP 9 (G3 Forward Gal, 7f) #1 CHAMPAGNE ANYONE (8-1) got no pace help in the Golden Rod (G2) on a wet track Nov. 24. Before that wet track affair, she won two straight races and her CPR and Final Ratings were on the move. I can definitely see her making a nice late run and winning this event. #4 Feedback (6-5) looked super in her Saratoga debut last summer (field-best 144 Final Rating) for Chad Brown and the clear runner-up was a next-out winner. She should make her presence felt throughout and might return in the pink for a sharp outfit. #3 Fashion Faux Pas (4-1) owns the best Pace Ratings in this field but I am not sure she wants to go seven panels. I would like her much more if this race was a furlong shorter. The Plays: #1 to win, Exacta Box 1-4, Trifecta 1-4/1-3-4/1-3-4

Martha Washington Stakes from Oaklawn Park (2-2-19)

OP 8 (Martha Washington, 8f) #6 POWER GAL (9-2) appears ready to stretch out after a trio of sprint starts to begin her career. She should get stamina from her sire Empire Maker and her dam Nan graduated in a route in 2008 and competed in multiple graded routes in 2009. She sports a trio of local works for this. #2 Marathon Queen (3-1) tries to stretch out after a solid debut maiden win at FG Dec. 22. She is bred to go this far and looms a pace factor at the very least. Steve Asmussen is five for his last fifteen and has strong stats with his dirt route starters. #4 Sunset Wish (9-5) improved her Final Ratings in all five outings and she won her last three starts. I like her tactical speed and she looked good running down #5 Taylor’s Spirit (5-2) in a $75k stakes affair at Delta Downs Jan. 4. The latter is 4-for-6 and should make her presence felt throughout. The Plays: #6 to win, Exacta Box 2-6, Exacta 2-6/4-5

Busanda Stakes from Aqueduct (2-3-19)

AQU 8 (Busanda, 9f) #1 ALWAYS SHOPPING (6-1) is still a maiden but improved her FIRE, CPR, Pace, Final Rating, and Last Fraction in all three starts including a clear place finish in a local at mile special weight affair Dec. 14. She should save all of the ground stalking the pace from the advantageous inside post and I like the confident placement by Todd Pletcher. I played #6 Elegant Zip (6-1) multiple times last year and the consistent NY-bred filly fired trifecta shots in five of six outings. She owns competitive numbers in shorter races but I am not sure that she wants to go this far. #9 Filly Joel (2-1) was a distant 3rd when last seen in the Demoiselle (G2) and runaway winner Positive Spirit was in a race of her own. She romped in an 8.5 furlong maiden affair at Belmont before that and looms a pace factor at the very least. #11 Miss Marilyn (5-1) set the pace and held off my top choice Always Shopping Dec. 14 and that was only her second career start. She has plenty of upside but I am not thrilled with the outside draw. The Plays: #1 to win, Exacta Box 1-6, Exacta 1-6/9-11

Kentucky Oaks 2019 Points Race Recaps

Silverbulletday Stakes Recap (1-19-19) – Winner: Needs Supervision

This was not a fast race. For final time comparison, War of Will won the Lecomte (G3) at a mile and seventy yards in 1:43.44. The pace was comparable in the Silverbulletday and the fillies completed the same distance in 1:45.34. Needs Supervision stalked the pace and gamely held off Eres Tu by a bit less than a length. The top two were well clear of show finisher and 3-2 favorite Grandaria. Last year’s Golden Rod (G2) winner Liora was a disappointing 4th and was followed by Cowgirls Like Us, Mandy Blue, and Fun Finder.

Kentucky Oaks Points Leaderboard (through Silverbulletday 1-19-19)

1. Jaywalk – 30 points

2. Restless Rider – 22 points

3. Bellafina – 22 points

4. Liora – 11 points

5. Chasing Yesterday – 10 points

6. Serengeti Empress – 10 points

7. Positive Spirit – 10 points

8. Needs Supervision – 10 points

9. Vibrance – 8 points

10. Mother Mother – 6 points

Jarrod Horak’s Fabulous Five Kentucky Oaks 2019 Contenders (2-1-19)

#1 – JAYWALK – Champion two-year-old filly breezed five panels at Palm Meadows on Jan. 29.

#2 – BELLAFINA – Looked great in Santa Ynez (G2) at Santa Anita on Jan. 6 and worked a half-mile in 48.20 on Feb. 1.

#3 – POSITIVE SPIRIT – Razor sharp Demoiselle (G2) winner breezed half-mile at Payson Park on Jan. 26.

#4 – RESTLESS RIDER – Consistent filly fired exacta shots in all six starts. The grade one winner has yet to work this year.

#5 – FLOR DE LA MAR – Super debut for Baffert/Godolphin runner at Santa Anita Jan. 20. She worked five panels Jan. 29.

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The first Kentucky Oaks 2019 points race of the year was the Santa Ynez (G2) at Santa Anita Park on Jan. 6 and Bellafina was the sensational winner in her highly anticipated three-year-old bow. The next Oaks points race is the Silverbulletday at Fair Grounds on Jan. 19 and last year’s Golden Rod (G2) winner Liora is the 5-2 morning line favorite.

Kentucky Oaks 2019 Points Race Analysis: Silverbulletday Stakes from Fair Grounds (1-19-19)

FG 11 (Silverbulletday, 1 mile 70 yards) #7 MANDY BLUE (9-2) followed up an off the pace score as the chalk in her dirt sprint bow last fall with a local turf route score Dec. 26 (improved Today’s Racing Digest FIRE, CPR, Pace + Final Rating). Brad Cox has strong turf/dirt and dirt route stats. The well-bred filly projects an outside stalking trip for the productive Geroux/Cox team. #2 Grandaria (9-2) exits back-to-back late running wins in dirt routes and she is bred to run all day. She is at the mercy of the pace. #5 Needs Supervision (3-1) ran well in all three starts last year (2 wins) and it is a good sign that she got stronger as distances increased. Her biggest win and strongest number was in the slop in a one-turn mile at Churchill (37-1 upset win) and she figures to stalk the pace today. #4 Liora (5-2) improved her numbers in all four outings and stepped up to upset Restless Rider in the Golden Rod (G2) at Churchill in the slop Nov. 24. She is 2-for-2 at this distance and is a strong pace factor. #6 Cowgirls Like Us (9-2) won her last three stakes starts at Retama and Remington Park. She owns early-pressing versatility but her numbers are nothing special. #3 Eres Tu (8-1) was no match for Grandaria at this course/distance Dec. 21. The lightly raced, improving late runner will try to get involved late. #1 Fun Finder (12-1) showed marked improvement in an easy maiden win second time out but will have to run much faster to compete here. The Plays: #7 to win, Exacta Box 2-7, Exacta 2-7/4-5, Trifecta Key 7/2-4-5

Kentucky Oaks 2019 Points Race Recaps

Santa Ynez (G2) Recap (1-6-19) – Winner: Bellafina – 153 Today’s Racing Digest Final Rating

Bellafina was sensational in her extended sprint return. She chased inside front runner Mother Mother, gained the lead after a half-mile, and won for fun under Flavien Prat. This is exactly what you want to see from a newly turned 3-year-old. She figures to stretch back out in the near future and looks like the early favorite for the Kentucky Oaks at this stage. Mother Mother held 2nd over Tomlin, and it was more than seven lengths back to Reflect in 4th. Sold It faded to last in the strung-out field.

Kentucky Oaks Points Leaderboard (through Santa Ynez 1-6-19)

1. Jaywalk – 30 points

2. Restless Rider – 22 points

3. Bellafina – 22 points

4. Chasing Yesterday – 10 points

5. Serengeti Empress – 10 points

6. Positive Spirit – 10 points

7. Liora – 10 points

8. Vibrance – 8 points

9. Mother Mother – 6 points

10. Reflect – 5 points

Jarrod Horak’s Fabulous Five Kentucky Oaks 2019 Contenders (1-17-19)

#1 – JAYWALK – Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) winner returned to work tab at Palm Meadows on Jan. 11.

#2 – BELLAFINA – Looked great winning her fourth graded event in Santa Ynez (G2) at Santa Anita on Jan. 6.

#3 – POSITIVE SPIRIT – Demoiselle (G2) winner is wintering in Florida and breezed at Payson Park on Jan. 12.

#4 – RESTLESS RIDER – Consistent filly fired exacta shots in all six starts. She likes Churchill and is a grade one winner.

#5 – LIORA – Golden Rod (G2) winner makes three-year-old debut in Silverbulletday at Fair Grounds on Jan. 19.

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The final Kentucky Oaks 2019 points race of the year was the Grade I Starlet at Los Alamitos Race Course on Saturday, Dec. 8, and Bob Baffert trainee Chasing Yesterday scored a game head victory in an absolute thriller.

Jaywalk is the clear leader of this division after a big front running victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. She is currently on a break in Ocala, Florida and is set to resume training in the near future. She is expected to make her 3-year-old debut at Gulfstream Park in the Forward Gal (Feb. 2) or Davona Dale (March 2).

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile fillies runner-up Restless Rider had a very busy fall campaign and is one to watch as we head into 2019. She has earned a mini vacation.

Some early developers like Bellafina and Serengeti Empress (Fair Grounds Oaks her first major 2019 goal) need to kick it up a notch to compete at the grade one level next year. Others like Vibrance need to put late season below par efforts behind them.

Kentucky Oaks hopefuls wintering in New Orleans have had plenty of success in recent years, so keep a close eye on the 3-year-old filly stakes races at Fair Grounds next year.

There are three Kentucky Oaks points races scheduled for January 2019: Santa Ynez at Santa Anita Park (Jan. 6), Silverbulletday at Fair Grounds (Jan. 19), Busanda at Aqueduct (Jan. 20).

Kentucky Oaks 2019 Points Race Recaps

Los Alamitos Starlet Recap (12-8-18) – Winner: Chasing Yesterday – 134 Today’s Racing Digest Final Rating

Mother Mother, Sold It, and Anaya Alraab were the early runners in this grade one affair at a mile and a sixteenth, and they were pursued by Vibrance, Oxy Lady, and Chasing Yesterday. Mother Mother was still in front in deep stretch with Anaya Alraab and Chasing Yesterday bearing down on her. Those three hit the finish line together with Chasing Yesterday getting the nod on the outside. 30-1 longshot Anaya Alraab was neck in front of Mother Mother, followed by Oxy Lady and Sold It. Vibrance saved ground throughout and steadily lost ground in the lane to finish a distant last in a very disappointing effort. Chasing Yesterday had a wide trip throughout from the outside post, but outside runners typically perform well at Los Alamitos Race Course. The 2-3 finishers ran quality races throughout, but the fillies ran much slower (1:42.59) than the Los Al Futurity males (1:41.18).

Kentucky Oaks Points Leaderboard (through Starlet 12-8-18)

1. Jaywalk – 30 points

2. Restless Rider – 22 points

3. Bellafina – 12 points

4. Chasing Yesterday – 10 points

5. Serengeti Empress – 10 points

6. Positive Spirit – 10 points

7. Liora – 10 points

8. Vibrance – 8 points

Jarrod Horak’s Fabulous Five Kentucky Oaks 2019 Contenders (12-20-18)

#1 – JAYWALK – Two-time grade one winner continues to improve for John Servis (saddled 2016 Oaks winner Cathryn Sophia).

#2 – RESTLESS RIDER – Consistent filly fired exacta shots in all six outings. She likes Churchill and is a grade one winner.

#3 – POSITIVE SPIRIT – Always Dreaming’s half-sister has plenty of upside and will spend the winter in Florida.

#4 – BELLAFINA – Three-time graded winner working steadily and could return in Santa Ynez (Jan. 6) or Las Virgenes (Feb. 6).

#5 – LIORA – Wintering in New Orleans and scheduled to run in the Rachel Alexandra Stakes at Fair Grounds Feb. 16.

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The next Kentucky Oaks 2019 points race is the Grade I Starlet at Los Alamitos Race Course on Saturday, Dec. 8, and Bob Baffert saddles the two favorites.

American Pharoah’s sister Chasing Yesterday is the race favorite for Baffert, and she has been very good in sprint races. Mother Mother is also conditioned by Baffert and she looms a pace factor at the very least.

Grade I Starlet Analysis (12-8-18)

LRC 7 (G1 Starlet, 2yo fil, 8.5f) #1 VIBRANCE (5-2) started her career in a turf route and she ended up 4th. She was 1 of 3 next out winners from that heat in a flat mile dirt race Aug 29, and she followed that up with a clear 2nd to runaway winner Bellafina in the G1 Chandelier. She finished a clear 3rd behind sharp front running winner Jaywalk in the BC Juvenile Fillies last time and Prat rides the early-pressing threat today. She improved her FIRE, CPR, + Final Ratings in all four starts (129 Final in Breeders’ Cup). #2 Mother Mother (2-1) was up on the pace in all three starts (2 wins and a 2nd) and she added blinkers and held on in the Rags to Riches at CD Oct 28 (one turn mile – 132 Final Rating). The runner-up from her last, Molto Bella, went off a 3-1 in the G2 Demoiselle Dec 1 and finished 4th (beaten 18 lengths). Show finisher High Regard returned to land the show in the G2 Golden Rod. #3 Sold It (20-1) has a tough task for Doug O’Neill. She set a pressured pace and held 3rd in her dirt sprint bow at 6.5f, and she dueled and held on by a neck in a turf sprint Nov 15. She was the favorite in her first two starts and is a longshot pace factor today. #4 Oxy Lady (5-1) added blinkers and romped in the G3 Tempted at Aqueduct Nov 2 (136 CPR + 135 Final), but that is looking like a negative race (inflated number). Clear runner-up Enliven was pummeled by 23 lengths as the chalk in the Demoiselle Dec 1. Show finisher Surge of Pride was beaten by 10+ vs. NY-bred stakes foes Nov 23. 4th place finisher Takecharge Mirella was a well-beaten 3rd of 4 in an OC-75k/1x at AQU Nov 29. #5 Enaya Alrabb (12-1) added blinkers and improved to graduate in a one mile dirt race second time out at SA Oct 25. She owns the lowest numbers. #6 Chasing Yesterday (9-5) is 3-for-3 in SoCal dirt sprints and her only below par effort was a 7th of 11 in the G1 Spinaway at Saratoga second time out. She beat 2 rivals in the Desi Arnaz at 7f Nov 12 and the numbers from that race were disappointing. She can win if she earns Anoakia-like numbers (Oct 14 6f SA – 136 CPR + 137 Final). THE PLAYS – #1 to win, Exacta Box 1-4

Kentucky Oaks 2019 Points Race Recaps

Golden Rod (11-24-18) – Winner: Liora

Restless Rider was the overwhelming favorite in this wet track route under the Twin Spires, and she sat a comfortable stalking trip in third behind front runner Liora. Those two hooked up in the stretch and when the tussle ended, it was 27-1 longshot Liora by a nose. Restless Rider was a clear 2nd and was followed by High Regard, Champagne Anyone, Gold Credit, Princess Causeway, Break Curfew, and Reflect. The wet track may have affected some of the performances, and I am just not sure what to make of the results. I have been a fan of Restless Rider for quite some time and have been disappointed with her overall progress this fall. She deserves a break.

Demoiselle Recap (12-1-18) – Winner: Positive Spirit

The fast main track was deep and the rail was not the place to be early in the day, and this event was carded early (race 4). To give you an idea of the bad inside, Joe Bravo steered Enliven at least three paths away from the inside even though she broke from the rail post. Positive Spirit was up on the pace and wide throughout, and she rode the good portion of the track to a 10+ length score under Manny Franco. Afleet Destiny rallied wide to secure the place over outside front runner Filly Joel. It was more than five lengths back to Molto Bella in 4th, and she was followed by Enliven, Jennifer’s Dream, and Girl of Tosconova. The final time was 1:56.01, and note that the track played considerably faster and the inside lanes were not nearly as bad later in the day. For final time comparisons, 2-year-old males in the Remsen (race 8) completed the same distance in 1:51.34. Positive Spirit is bred to be a good one but it is tough to get a true early gauge on the 2018 Demoiselle.

Kentucky Oaks Points Leaderboard (through Demoiselle Stakes)

1. Jaywalk – 30 points

2. Restless Rider – 22 points

3. Bellafina – 12 points

4. Serengeti Empress – 10 points

5. Positive Spirit – 10 points

6. Liora – 10 points

7. Vibrance – 8 points

Jarrod Horak’s Fabulous Five Kentucky Oaks 2019 Contenders (12-7-18)

#1 – JAYWALK – Two-time grade one winner continues to improve for John Servis (saddled 2016 Oaks winner Cathryn Sophia).

#2 – VIBRANCE – All four starts were routes and she hit the board in both grade one attempts. She goes next in the Dec. 8 Starlet.

#3 – RESTLESS RIDER – Consistent filly fired exacta shots in all six outings. She likes Churchill and is a grade one winner.

#4 – OXY LADY – Improving filly owns a route pedigree (Oxbow-A. P. Indy) and looked good winning the G3 Tempted at Aqueduct Nov. 2.

#5 – POSITIVE SPIRIT – Always Dreaming’s 1/2 sister has plenty of upside and will spend the winter in Florida.

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​Road To Kentucky Oaks 2019

Jaywalk won for the fourth time in five starts and captured her second grade one in a strong front running victory in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Churchill Downs on Friday, Nov. 2.

There have been five Kentucky Oaks points races so far, and Jaywalk won the last two (Frizette, BC Juvenile Fillies). Restless Rider has a win in the Alcibiades and a 2nd in the BC Juvenile Fillies.

Serengeti Empress won the first Oaks points race (Pocahontas), but she showed distance limitations in the Breeders’ Cup. The top California hope, Bellafina, ran away and hid in the Chandelier, and she came to Kentucky with a big reputation, but she ended up a flat 4th from the outside post in the BC.

The final three 2018 points races for the Oaks are Churchill’s Golden Rod (Nov. 24), the Demoiselle at Aqueduct (Dec. 1), and the Starlet at Los Alamitos (Dec. 8).

Kentucky Oaks 2019 Points Race Recaps

Pocahontas Recap (9-15-18) – Winner: Serengeti Empress (134 Today’s Racing Digest Final Rating)

Serengeti Empress dominated this event throughout (1st by 19 lengths), but when you see such a strong effort, you would like it to include a fast final time. Her overall numbers were just okay in this spot, and they actually dipped several points (150 Final Rating Ellis Park Juvenile Aug 19 – seven furlongs). It is not a good sign that she has won three of four starts by a combined 37+ lengths without earning strong ratings. Splashy Kisses was a distant 2nd, and Lightscameraaction checked in 3rd.

Chandelier Recap (9-29-18) – Winner: Bellafina (132 Final Rating)

The 2-year-old fillies in California continue to go fast early and slow late, and they will be vulnerable to route oriented runners in the coming weeks and months. Bellafina took blinkers off and sat behind Vibrance early, but they were rolling along through fractions of 22.88 and 46.51. Bellafina took over after six furlongs and won by 6+ lengths over early runner and clear place finisher Vibrance. Brill was well clear of Der Lu in 3rd, and maiden Del Mar May was the distant trailer. They slowed down considerably and stopped the clock in 1:44.59.

Alcibiades Recap (10-5-18) – Winner: Restless Rider (128 Final Rating)

This was a solid win but hardly breathtaking. Meadow Dance set a good pace, and Restless Rider was always in a good spot in 3rd. The latter made a winning move entering the stretch and won in the clear by 2-1/2 lengths. Reflect made a nice run from midpack to easily secure the place, and Meadow Dance held 3rd. Chocolate Kisses rallied from 14th to complete the superfecta, and the rest were far back.

Frizette Recap (10-6-18) – Winner: Jaywalk (138 Final Rating)

Jaywalk was strong throughout in this one turn mile at Belmont Park, and this was the fourth time in as many starts that she improved her Today’s Racing Digest numbers. She was also stretching out from five and one-half furlongs, and she showed the ability to rate and finish in a dirt sprint stakes win at Delaware Park Aug. 22. Brucia La Terra rallied from last to pick up the place, and Cassies Dreamer was an off the pace show finisher. Strong favorite Covfefe was bumped at the start, stalked wide, and came up empty in 4th.

BC Juvenile Fillies Recap (11-2-18) – Winner: Jaywalk

There seemed to be a good amount of pace on paper, but Jaywalk and jockey Joel Rosario seized control early, and she was never headed in a solid 5-1/2 length wire job victory over stalker Restless Rider. The later made a run at the early leader in the lane, but was swatted away. She held 2nd by a 1/2 length over fellow stalker Vibrance. Post time favorite Bellafina did not have a great takeoff from post 10, and she ended up stalking outside and finishing a flat 4th. Cassies Dreamer was another four lengths back in 5th, and was followed by Sippican Harbor, Serengeti Empress, Splashy Kisses, Reflect, and Baby Nina.

Kentucky Oaks Points Leaderboard (through BC Juvenile Fillies)

1. Jaywalk – 30 points

2. Restless Rider – 18 points

3. Bellafina – 12 points

4. Serengeti Empress – 10 points

5. Vibrance – 8 points

Let’s go back to the year 2000 and see if we can spot some trends.

Key Trends for Kentucky Oaks (2000-2018)

Keep a close eye on horses wintering at Fair Grounds. Since 2000, a horse with at least one 3-year-old start at that venue has won the Oaks eight times. Another positive is a race at Churchill Downs prior to the Oaks (nine winners). The Ashland at Keeneland has also been a productive final prep race (six winners). Horses making their final Oaks prep in Southern California have struck four times. Interestingly, none of the last eighteen winners had their final prep at Gulfstream Park.

Only 3 of the last 18 Oaks winners competed in the BC Juvenile Fillies, and all three hit the board in the Cup (Blind Luck, Proud Spell, Ashado).

Jockeys: Mike Smith has won a couple of recent runnings in 2013 (Princess of Sylmar) and 2017 (Abel Tasman).

Trainers: Larry Jones is responsible for a trio of winners since 2008 (Lovely Marie, Believe You Can, Proud Spell). Todd Pletcher has saddled three Oaks winners since 2004 (Princess of Sylmar, Rags To Riches, Ashado). If you go back to 1999, Bob Baffert also has three winners (Abel Tasman, Plum Pretty, Silverbulletday). Jerry Hollendorfer has three well-space winners – Lite Light (1991), Pike Place Dancer (1996), Blind Luck (2010). Chalk up a couple of wins for Steve Asmussen since 2005 (Untapable, Summerly). Going back a bit, Wayne Lukas had four winners between 1982-1991.

Pedigree: Give bonus points to horses with Medaglia d’Oro or A. P. Indy in the bloodlines.

Kentucky Oaks Winners: 2000-2018

2018 Monomoy Girl (Tapizar, Drummette, by Henry Hughes) – Trained by Brad Cox

Raced four times as a juvenile (won Rags To Riches at CD), and concluded her freshman campaign with a place finish in the G2 Golden Rod. She wintered at FG (won Rachel Alexandra Stakes), and shipped to Keeneland and won her final Oaks prep in the G1 Ashland.

2017 Abel Tasman (Quality Road, Vargas Girl, by Deputy Minister) – Trained by Bob Baffert

Had a 4-race juvenile campaign in Southern California, and she won her last three starts that year, including the G1 Starlet at Los Al. She finished 2nd in her first two sophomore starts at Santa Anita (Santa Ysabel, SA Oaks), and stormed from off the pace to win the Kentucky Oaks on a wet track.

2016 Cathryn Sophia (Street Boss – Sheave, by Mineshaft) – Trained by John Servis

Bred in Maryland by Robert T. Manfuso, she won both of her 2-year-old outings, including the Gin Talking Stakes at Laurel Park. She spent the winter in Florida and won back-to-back stakes races at Gulfstream Park in 2016 (G2 Forward Gal, G2 Davona Dale). In her final Oaks prep, she finished 3rd in the G1 Ashland at Keeneland.

2015 Lovely Maria (Majesticperfection, Thundercup, by Thunder Gulch)

Her juvenile season consisted of four races (a win, a pair of place finishes, and a 4th in the Trapeze Stakes at Remington). She wintered at Fair Grounds and raced twice there (2nd in G2 Rachel Alexandra). She captured her final Oaks prep in the G1 Ashland at Keeneland.

2014 Untapable (Tapit, Fun House, by Prized) Trained by Steve Asmussen

Won her first two career starts at Churchill before shipping to Southern California and disappointing in a pair of graded stakes (3rd in G1 Hollywood Starlet). She spent the winter at Fair Grounds, and she won a pair of stakes races at that venue (G3 Rachel Alexandra, G2 FG Oaks).

2013 Princess of Sylmar (Majestic Warrior, Storm Dixie, by Catienus) – Trained by Todd Pletcher

Competed three times as a juvenile, winning her final two outings at Penn National and Aqueduct. She remained in New York for her first three starts as a sophomore, with wins in the Busanda and Busher, and a runner-up finish in the G2 Gazelle.

2012 Believe You Can (Proud Citizen, El Fasto, by El Prado) – Trained by Larry Jones

Went 3-for-5 in 2011 including a stakes score in the G3 Tempted. Spent the winter at Fair Grounds and won the Silverbulletday, ran 4th in the G3 Rachel Alexandra, and captured the G2 FG Oaks.

2011 Plum Pretty (Medaglia d’Oro, Liszy, by A. P. Indy) – Trained by Bob Baffert

Raced just once in 2010, and she won that maiden event at Hollywood Park. She started off her 3-year-old season with show finishes at Santa Anita Park in the G2 Santa Ynez and G1 Las Virgenes. In her final Oaks prep, she captured the Sunland Park Oaks in New Mexico.

2010 Blind Luck (Pollard’s Vision, Lucky One, by Best of Luck) – Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer

She raced six times as a 2-year-old with wins in the G1 Oak Leaf and G1 Hollywood Starlet, a 2nd in the G1 Debutante, and a show finish in the G1 BC Juvenile Fillies. She had a trio of 3-year-old starts prior to the Oaks, and she won two of those (G1 Las Virgenes, G2 Fantasy). She bucked a few trends. She was not afraid to travel (Florida, California, Arkansas), she raced more than many of the recent winners (Oaks was her tenth career start), and she was one of the few to compete in the BC Juvenile Fillies.

2009 Rachel Alexandra (Medaglia d’Oro, Lotta Kim, by Roar) – Trained by Hal Wiggins

She was 6th in her career debut at Churchill Downs, and that was the only time she ever finished out of the exacta. She graduated in her next start at that oval, and she followed that up with a 2nd in the G2 Debutante. She was not nearly done as a 2-year-old. She won an allowance race at Keeneland in October 2008, and returned to Churchill and was 2nd in the G3 Pocahontas and 1st in the G2 Golden Rod. She resurfaced in 2009 at Oaklawn Park, and she won the Maratha Washington Stakes. She traveled to Fair Grounds for the G2 FG Oaks (she won that), and she returned to Arkansas and polished off her rivals in the G2 Fantasy. She was similar to Blind Luck in that she was not afraid to travel and race, and her busy schedule gave her a very strong foundation. It would catch up to her as a 4-year-old, but she had an outstanding winning run from November 2008 thru September 2009.

2008 Proud Spell (Proud Citizen, Pacific Spell, by Langfuhr) – Trained by Larry Jones

Won her first three starts including the G2 Matron at Belmont Park, and she ended her freshman campaign with a 2nd in the G1 BC Juvenile Fillies. In a common theme, she wintered at Fair Grounds (2nd in G3 Silverbulletday, 1st in G2 FG Oaks), and she shipped to Keeneland and ran 3rd in the G1 Ashland.

2007 Rags To Riches (A. P. Indy, Better Than Honor, by Deputy Minister) – Trained by Todd Pletcher

Late bloomer only raced once as a juvenile, and she was 4th in that maiden affair at Churchill Downs. She rattled off three straight wins at Santa Anita to kick off her 3-year-old season (1st in G1 Las Virgenes, 1st in G1 SA Oaks). After winning the Oaks, she took down Curlin in the G1 Belmont Stakes. She finished 2nd in her final career start in the G2 Gazelle at Belmont Park. She was not around long but she sure left a lasting mark.

2006 Lemons Forever (Lemon Drop Kid, Kritikola, by Tough Critic) – Trained by Dallas Stewart

Talk about shipping, this one was all over the map early in her career. She started out finishing 9th at Churchill Downs, and ended her brief juvenile season with a maiden win at Turfway Park. She was 2nd vs. allowance company at Louisiana Downs to begin her 3-year-old campaign, and she followed that up with an allowance win at Oaklawn, and a 3rd in the G3 Bourbonette at Turfway. It was bombs away at 47-1 in the Kentucky Oaks. She never won another stakes race.

2005 Summerly (Summer Squall, Here I Go, by Mr. Prospector) – Trained by Steve Asmussen

Her three juvenile starts featured a maiden win at Keeneland and a 3rd in the G3 Golden Rod. Just like many others, she wintered at Fair Grounds (1st in G3 Silverbulletday and 1st in G2 FG Oaks), and she was 4th in the G1 Ashland prior to winning the Oaks.

2004 Ashado (Saint Ballado, Goulash, by Mari’s Book) – Trained by Todd Pletcher

Rattled off three straight wins to begin her racing career in New York including the G2 Schuylerville and G1 Spinaway at Saratoga. She wrapped up 2-year-old racing with a 3rd in the G1 Frizette, a 2nd in the G1 BC Juvenile Fillies, and a win in the G2 Demoiselle. She started 2004 with a win in the G2 FG Oaks, and her last Oaks prep was a place finish in the G1 Ashland at Keeneland.

2003 Bird Town (Cape Town, Dear Birdie, by Storm Bird) – Trained by Nick Zito

Very consistent filly finished in the top three in all four juvenile starts (graduated at Churchill Downs). Her first two starts as a 3-year-old were at Gulfstream Park (1st in Charon Stakes), and her last Oaks prep was a place finish in the G2 Beaumont at Keeneland.

2002 Farda Amiga (Broad Brush, Fly North, by Pleasant Colony) – Trained by Paulo Lobo

All five starts in Southern California prior to Oaks. She raced twice as a 2-year-old (3rd in G3 Miesque). As a sophomore, she was 7th in the Blue Norther, 1st in an allowance race at Santa Anita, and 4th in the G1 SA Oaks.

2001 Flute (Seattle Slew, Rougeur, by Blushing Groom) – Trained by Robert Frankel

Lightly raced with a Southern California campaign, she was 2nd in her lone juvenile start at Hollywood Park. She broke her maiden at Santa Anita in January 2001, and was 2nd in the G1 SA Oaks.

2000 Secret Status (A. P. Indy, Private Status, by Alydar) – Trained by Neil Howard

Failed to hit the board in her first two starts at Belmont Park, but she really picked up steam after that. She graduated at Keeneland and was 3rd in the G3 Golden Rod at Churchill in her final two starts as a 2-year-old. She opened up her 3-year-old campaign with a couple of allowance wins at Gulfstream Park, and ended up 3rd in the G3 Davona Dale at that oval. In her final Oaks prep, she won the G3 Florida Oaks at Tampa Bay Downs.

Jarrod Horak’s Fabulous Five Kentucky Oaks 2019 Contenders (11-4-18)

#1 – JAYWALK – Two-time grade one winner continues to improve for John Servis (saddled 2016 Oaks winner Cathryn Sophia).

#2 – RESTLESS RIDER – Classy filly finished 1-2 in all five outings. She likes Churchill and is a grade one winner.

#3 – VIBRANCE – She has long range upside. All four starts were routes, and she hit the board in both grade one tries.

#4 – OXY LADY – Improving filly owns a route pedigree (Oxbow-A. P. Indy) and looked good winning the G3 Tempted at Aqueduct Nov. 2.

#5 – ENLIVEN – Clearly second best in G3 Tempted. She is on the upswing and I really like her route breeding (Ghostzapper-Mineshaft).

Jarrod Horak

Jarrod Horak posts stakes recaps from Del Mar and Santa Anita Park, along with full card recaps and free stakes picks from Southern and/or Northern California.