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HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

2014 Kentucky Oaks Preview: Can Untapable Be Stopped?

Unbridled Forever silver 615 X 400
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire - Steve Queen

 

With the field for the 2014 Kentucky Oaks set, let's take a look at each of the 13 fillies vying to win the female version of the Kentucky Derby, from the rail out ...

PostSilksHorseJockeyTrainer
1
Please ExplainJose LezcanoTom Proctor

Live Longshot

(50-1)

For whatever reason, the daughter of Curlin threw in a real stinker in her last race, as the favorite in the Grade 3 Fantasy. If you can forgive that non-effort, the Tom Proctor trainee looms a serious threat. I believe she was best the time before in the Honeybee, nine furlongs figures to be right up her alley, and plenty of speed in here should set up her late run perfectly.

2
Ria AntoniaMike SmithBob Baffert

Contender

(10-1)

In my opinion, this is the best looking 3yo running this week at Churchill Downs. The Kentucky Oaks is more than a beauty contest, though. She did show marked improvement last time after finishing way behind Untapable in her seasonal debut, and she also figures to benefit from a strong pace much like she did in last year's Breeders' Cup. All indications point to her thriving physically since arriving in Kentucky.
3
Sugar ShockCalvin BorelDoug Anderson

Pretender

(12-1) 

A model of consistency so far this year in Arkansas, she figures to be one of several fillies looking to be on or near the early lead. While she has looked a little better in each and every start, I have little confidence that she can handle the step up in class and distance that she will see in the Oaks, especially considering the pace scenario.
4
RosalindJoel RosarioKen McPeek

Contender

(8-1) 

The most consistent closer in the field, she looks to take advantage of a contentious pace that could leave many in the field feeling leg weary through the final quarter mile. If she is indeed as good on dirt as the BC Juvenile Fillies would make it appear, she is primed to make her presence felt in a big way late.
5
Thank You MarylouJulien LeparouxMike Maker

 Live Longshot

(30-1)

Bred to stay the trip, this lightly raced filly could not handle Rosalind in the Ashland, but remember that was her first try around two-turns. It is a good bet that the daughter of Birdstone will improve this time, and unlike the filly that beat her last time, she has enough tactical speed to stay in touch early, before kicking in her rally late.
6
Kiss MoonVictor EspinozaDavid Vance

Pretender

(30-1) 

She's been unsuccessfully chasing Sugar Shock of late, and unlike Please Explain, I see far less upside. Her last was an improvement, but I fear it still falls well short of what she will need to compete for the win in the Kentucky Oaks.
7
Fashion PlateGary StevensSimon Callaghan

 Pretender

(6-1)

I hope the morning line odds, pegging her as the second choice, are correct, because I do not like her chances in here. In her last few wins, she has caught paceless races completely unlike what she will see on Friday. In a race with plenty of talented early speed, she is simply not the fastest of the fast, in my estimation.
8
Aurelia's BelleChanning HillWayne Catalano

Live Longshot

(50-1)

After chasing the ill-fated Onlyforyou at Florida, she finally got a field she could handle at Turfway Park. The dirt form is there, so I am hopeful that she can handle the track at Churchill. The question is whether she can handle the class. At odds anywhere near those on the morning line, she is worth a shot.
9
Unbridled ForeverRobby AlbaradoDallas Stewart

  My Top    Pick  

(12-1)

Full disclosure ... this one was my early Kentucky Oaks pick ever since she broke her maiden at Churchill Downs last fall. While she was no match for the favorite last time, I believe it truly was a race she needed, and a means to an end. That theory will be tested here and now. Look for her to sit a mid-pack trip early, and then pounce on the far turn. On a track that we know she likes, Unbridled Forever may be ready to emulate dear old mom in winning the Kentucky Oaks.
10
Empress of MidwayCorey NakataniDoug O'Neill

 Pretender

(50-1)

This daughter of Empire Maker has not done too much wrong in her first three career starts out West, but the jump up in class for the Oaks likely will be just a little too much for this one to handle. She's one to keep an eye on down the road. 
11
My Miss SophiaJavier CastellanoTodd Pletcher

 Pretender

(8-1)

The talent for this one is undeniable, but with other speed in here ready to push her early, and coming from the 11-post, she will need to work a whole lot harder than she's had to in her last two romps. I do believe she is the most talented front runner in the field, but I have a feeling it will still not be enough to overcome it all in only her fourth lifetime start.
12
Got LuckyJohn VelazquezTodd Pletcher

Live Longshot

 (20-1) 

For the most part, this one has been chasing ghosts this year, but with a pace scenario likely to be far different in the Oaks, it could be time for this well bred filly to turn things around. Hot rider, John Velazquez should show plenty of patience early, before seeing if this one has what it takes to kick it in on the far turn, just like he did a few years ago with Animal Kingdom.
13
UntapableRosie NapravnikSteven Asmussen

 Beatable  Favorite

 (4-5) 

Her two races this year have been nothing short of fantastic, so it would come as no surprise if she raced to the lilies on Friday, but as the heavy favorite, I think there is reason to try to beat her in here. Rosie will need to work some magic right out of the gate, because getting hung out on the first turn from her outside post, could be enough to get her beat against the toughest field she's ever faced. If she does work out a good trip into the first turn, she will need to run as big as her pair in New Orleans, because she'll need to chase quality speed, and then try to hold off some formidable late runners.

 Pink & White chart for the Oaks Preview created by Candice Curtis

 

************************************

Time to toss another pretender from the 2014 Kentucky Derby list until we are down to only the true contenders - #8 Vicar’s In Trouble.

 
 

 

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Older Comments about 2014 Kentucky Oaks Preview: Can Untapable Be Stopped?...

at 10-1 ML odds..third start off layoff and second start off under Baffert..going with Ria Antonia
Untapable, Unbridled Forever and Got Lucky in that order for me
I am going with 'Rosalind'.
I still can't believe that Aurelia's Belle is 50-1! That's just crazy talk in my opinion. I would definitely take a shot with her if she stays near those odds.
Don't forget that Zipse picked the Princess last year at 38-1! Time to look carefully at Unbridled Forever.
How can Untapable lose to this bunch. Even with the handicap of the extremem outside post she is still 5 to 7 lengths faster than the nearest competitor. Long run into the first turn should prevent an extreme wide trip. Enough time to get posiion.
Wow, me too Averie. I wonder if you were as ticked off about Got Lucky's Demoiselle loss as I was, although I did have to laugh. Of course I like the fav, Untapable. Who doesn't? I like Gazelle winner My Miss Sophia, although she will have plenty of early speed competition, and Thank You Marylou to come running late. Empress Of Midway, beautiful filly, has to make a big improvement. She's my hunch like. Cujo's real name is Midway.
I've sat through many a stinker only because someone THREW a stinker.
I am going to take another look at Unbridled Forever, if Mr. Zipse thinks she has a good shot at those odds, she is worth a second look.
Got Lucky all the way!! I've been touting her for this race since the Demoiselle.
50-1 seems too good to be true ... she may not be good enough, but even at half those odds, I'm excited to find out!
i want nothing more than to see Please Explain do well...she's a Curlin baby, and i make no secret that i love her. however, i'm so nervous after the Honeybee and the Fantasy...third in the Honeybee, an awful Fantasy, and then the DQ in the Honeybee for the illegal steroid. i hope she's okay and fit to run. that aside...i still need to 'cap the race, so i can't speak to my picks just yet. that should be coming in the next day or two. :)

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing since birth. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 
  
As Managing Editor of Horse Racing Nation, Brian authors a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and adds his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Brian also serves on the the Board of Directors of ReRun Thoroughbred Adoption and is a Vox Populi committee member. 
  
A graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives in Suburban Chicago with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra, where he is a professional golf instructor when he is not following the horses.