$1 Million Kentucky Oaks is Completely Wide-Open
Category : News
Thu 05/05/2016 - 18:06 EDT
The $1 million Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks May 6 at Churchill Downs figured to be a particularly competitive race when it was announced in mid-April that the undefeated Songbird wouldn't make the race. That proposition has been fulfilled as a field of 14 is set to contest the mile and one eighth event that truly looks like a scramble on paper.
Rachel’s Valentina, a daughter of 2009 runaway oaks winner Rachel Alexandra, is the 7/2 morning line favorite and will break from post 11 with regular jockey John Velazquez in the irons. The precocious filly isn’t quite as accomplished at this point in her career as her mother was in hers, but she’s still pretty impressive nonetheless. In just four career starts, Rachel’s Valentina has won a grade 1 rance and finished second in two more. She was beaten just a neck in her last start – the Grade 1 Ashland – off a lengthy layoff and figures to be much tighter this time around. She’s obviously well-bred for the distance and may only need a clean trip while avoiding ground loss from her outside position.
Weep No More has packs stout late punch
Weep No More was the 30/1 upsetter in the Ashland, narrowly besting Rachel’s Valentina. Bettors will have to take a much shorter price on the George Arnold trainee this time around at 9/2 on the morning line, but this rapidly improving filly may be worth the risk. While clearly benefitting from a rapid early pace in the Ashland, Weep No More has demonstrated a strong closing kick in each of her last three starts and should once again be rolling late.
Cathryn Sophia tries route again
Cathryn Sophia (9/2) received her only loss while running third in the Ashland, but deserves a mulligan while trying two turns for the first time. The speedy filly while have to overcome a wide draw from post 12 while attempting the mile and an eighth distance which could prove to be her Achilles Heel.
Players trying to look beyond prohibitive favorite Tepin in the September 17 Woodbine Mile will surely have their work cut out for them as the superstar mare tackles seven rivals on the grass.
The second leg of the Canadian Triple Crown goes Tuesday night from Fort Erie race track, where Sir Dudley Digges will try to take another step toward Canadian racing history.
On Sunday, Woodbine will host the $1 million Queen’s Plate Stakes, Canada’s most prestigious race. Restricted to horses foaled in Canada, the classic mile and a quarter contest has drawn a field of thirteen three-year-olds.
A spectacular card of graded stakes action has been assembled for Saturday at Belmont Park and the $1 million Ogden Phipps is shaping up to be one of the most competitive races of the day. The Grade 1 event for fillies and mares will be contested at a mile and a sixteenth.