Photo: Coady Photography
The complexion of the 2011 Kentucky Oaks
changed dramatically following the defection of expected favorite R Heat Lightning
on Monday morning. Todd Pletcher's talented daughter of Trippi has a knee problem and will be thoroughly examined later this week.
Now that R Heat Lightning is out, where will favoritism fall? Look no further than rock solid conditioner Larry Jones and his gray daughter of Tapit. Joyful Victory
flashed ability as a juvenile and has put it all together this year. She moved to the Larry Jones barn this season and easily captured both graded routes at Oaklawn Park in the Honeybee (G3) and Fantasy (G2). She only earned Beyers in the low 80's for those two wins but she was visually impressive under Mike Smith and might be better than the numbers indicate. She uncorked a bullet in the slop at Churchill Downs on May 1 and should sit a nice stalk and pounce trip.
was the choice for this race in the one and only Oaks Future Wager pool in March. She had her 3-race win streak snapped in the Ashland (G1) but that was her first synthetic start and she might be better on dirt/turf. She romped in the Golden Rod (G2) under the Twin Spires last November and could be poised for a peak effort in a race she has been pointing to for months.
For those looking for a bit more wagering value, Zazu
is an interesting late running proposition. Shr showed steady improvement at Santa Anita over the winter and traded decisions with talented filly Turbulent Descent at the Great Race Place in her last pair. She has not been seen since March 5 but shows a string of stamina building works and would appreciate a fast pace.
Larry Jones had smashing Bourbonette Oaks (G3) winner Summer Soiree
in his barn as well but she was purchased by Team Valor and transferred to Graham Motion shortly after that event. She figures to be on the engine early along with Sunland Oaks romper Plum Pretty
and surprise Ashland (G1) winner Lilacs And Lace
. Plum Pretty
breezed 4f in :48.80 at Churchill Downs on May 2.
Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) winner Daisy Devine
should be close to the early pace as well. She blew out a three furlong bullet in :35.80 at Churchill Downs on May 2. St. John's River
owns a strong route pedigree and appears to be getting good at the right time for Andrew Leggio Jr. Her BSF's are creeping upward and she could be all set for a career top on May 6.
Todd Pletcher lost the favorite but he picks up recent addition Her Smile
. Bobby Flay owns her now and she ran her best race to date in the Comely (G3) on April 9.
Other possible Oaks entrants include Bouquet Booth, Holy Heavens, Niji's Grand Girl, Royal Delta, and Suave Voir Faire.