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Zipse At The Track

2013 Kentucky Oaks – A Baker’s Dozen

Dreaming of Julia edges My Happy Face in 2012 Frizette.

1. Dreaming of Julia (A.P. Indy-Dream Rush, by Wild Rush) Todd Pletcher– With the defection of Sign, I needed a new number one, and this one fits the bill. I look at this one's breeding, full of class, stamina, and speed, combined with her strong record as a juvenile, and cannot help but think that she will be a major factor on the first Friday of May. The Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies loss can be explained for a myriad of reasons, not the least of which was a very speed biased racetrack. Her tactical style should fit in very well at nine furlongs at Churchill Downs, and it would seem that Stonestreet is absolutely loaded in this division with Kauai Katie sticking to one-turn races, with this one going after even bigger goals.

2. Emollient (Empire Maker-Soothing Touch, by Touch Gold) Bill Mott– It's all about potential with one. After a solid debut at nearly 20-1, finishing second to the good, Cue the Moon, the well bred filly came back nicely to graduate in her second start. Sent off as the favorite in the Grade 2 Demoiselle in her third and most recent start, it looked like a case of pure talent almost overcoming the circumstances. She could not get to Unlimited Budget that day, but I'm expecting a ton of improvement under the tutelage of her master conditioner. Time and maturity should be all that the extremely green filly I saw last time needs to turn it all around and become a major force in the division. 

3. Pure Fun (Pure Prize-Kreisleriana, by Seeking the Gold) Ken McPeek – In two stunning displays of late speed this Kenny McPeek trained miss went from a complete unknown to one of the most interesting filles on the Kentucky Oaks trail. Not only does she possess a strong win over the Churchill Downs main track, but Pure Fun also has a big win over a strong field already in the bank. It would not be hard to imagine a repeat of the explosive turn of foot that she displayed in the grade 1 Hollywood Starlet carrying her victory in the Oaks. 

4. Blonde Fog (Divine Park-Betty's Solutions, by Eltish) Bob Baffert  – There's nothing here to knock in her impressive debut performance, followed by a good 2nd in the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet. Still a lot to learn about this lightly raced filly, but I was very impressed with her tenacious effort last time. Fighting off all challenges until the late stages when swept up by the fast finishing, Pure Fun, she then galloped out strongly like a horse who wants to run a distance. It looks like her Hall of Fame conditioner might have another good one in Blonde Fog. 
5. Beholder (Henny Hughes-Leslie's Lady, by Tricky Creek) Richard Mandella – Suicidal fractions and a throat ulcer ... sounds like horse racing's version of As the World Turns. Whether you buy the excuse(s) or not, the truth is her 2nd place finish in the Santa Ynez was not so bad in a difficult spot considering the pace, and being her first race since winning the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. I'm willing to give her and Mandella the benefit of the doubt, although I will consider it a bad sign if she is not able to make the Grade 1 Las Virgenes, which is still her stated goal.
6. Executiveprivilege (First Samurai-Refugee, by Unaccounted For) Bob Baffert - The undisputed leader of her division for most of the year, had things go a little south in the late stages of 2012. Clearly a classy filly, her loss to rival, Beholder, in the Breeders' Cup, followed by a 4th place finish in the Hollywood Starlet, not only likely cost her an Eclipse Award, but also does not bode well for next year. Maybe she was just a little tired and will bounce back to regain her lofty position, but more often than not, juveniles who dominate early, only to lose that domination later in the season, never return to the number one spot. 

7. So Many Ways (Sightseeing-Happy Scene, by Dehere) Anthony Dutrow – Clearly one of the elite fillies on 2012 after winning a Parx maiden, the Schuylerville Stakes, and the Grade 1 Spinaway Stakes at Saratoga impressively, in her first three starts, but then we did not see her again. That's fine with me. Her connections made the admirable decision to give her the rest of the year off to grow and mature. You have to root for a group that makes this kind of decision in the face of the big money available at the Breeders' Cup. I must admit, I am rooting for the decision to pay off big for the group in 2013, and her works so far in Florida are looking good.
8. My Happy Face (Tiz Wonderful-Summer Star, by Siberian Summer) Rudy Rodriguez – She may have been no match for the fleet-footed Kauai Katie in her seasonal debut, but the Forward Gal is far from the end game. The solid debut should set her up well for future races run at longer distances. I still maintain little doubt in is her toughness. After winning by a pole in her second career start at the Spa, she put it all on the line in next two starts. In both the Frizette and the Tempted, this granddaughter of Tiznow, proved a strong desire to get to the wire ahead of her competition.
9. Princess of Sylmar (Majestic Warrior-Stormy Dixie, by Stormy Atlanitc) Todd Pletcher – It's not typical of me to gush over a winter race at the Big A, but that is how strongly I felt about her bust-out victory in the Busanda. Bursting through a small hole like a filly on a purpose, this daughter of hot new sire, Majestic Warrior, gained the lead in a shot, and then proceeded to pour it on down the lane. Competition was surely questionable, but I believe there were enough good signs here to expect big things down the road from one of many talented sophomores currently residing in the Todd Pletcher stable.
10. Close Hatches (First Defence-Rising Tornado, by Storm Cat) Bill Mott– Anyone else experience a Royal Delta flashback with the debut of this good looking daughter of first crop sire, First Defence? From the powerful team of Juddmonte Farm and Bill Mott, she looked like any kind as she manhandled a well-intended field of maiden fillies at Gulfstream Park on Saturday. Content to bide her time well off the lead early, she exploded on the far turn and the race was as good as over. It looks like the sky is the limit with this one, and a stakes race in her second start is expected.

11. Unlimited Budget (Street Sense-Unlimited Pleasure, by Valid Appeal) Todd Pletcher - There is a lot to like here including an undefeated record, already having a win at nine furlongs, and a nice mix of speed and stamina in her pedigree, but still, I cannot shake the belief that the result of the Demoiselle will not hold up next year. Hey, I've been wrong before, and I'll be wrong again, but as of now, I believe the second place finisher, Emollient, will prove to be the bigger star coming out of  the Thanksgiving weekend affair at the Big A.
12. Rose to Gold (Friends Lake-Saucy, by Tabasco Cat) Todd Pletcher - She's already proved an incredible bargain, but can she really go from a $1,400 yearling purchase to Kentucky Oaks champion? That would certainly spice up the Kentucky Derby weekend. Throw out her one non-dirt race and her record is sparkling, and looks even better now after the horse she beat in the Delta Princess, Touch Magic, came back to win determinedly in the Silverbulletday Stakes last week. Working well at Calder, she make make her 2013 debut in Oaklawn's Martha Washington. 

13. Smitten (Tapit-Hi Lili, by Silver Deputy) Larry Jones - This well regarded filly from the Rick Porter and Larry Jones tandem is getting better with every start. After breaking her maiden smartly in New Orleans, she came from way back against a solid field in the Silverbulletday to finish a wide third. In a race that breaking slowly from the far outside post did her no favors, Smitten demonstrated the ability to compete with graded stakes type fillies. I look for further improvement that could put her in the winner's circle of a stakes race sooner than later.


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Older Comments about 2013 Kentucky Oaks – A Baker’s Dozen...

Sign has a minor injury that will keep her out of training for several months, Brian ... Renee's Titan would have made the list if it was a Top 15.
IHATC, Renee's Titan, yes. Scarlet Strike, Gal About Town, Fifty Shades Of Hay. Good list, Brian. Just ones I'm watching, besides your top 13. I like the allowance winner(aoc), I Am Miss Brown, too.
What heppened to Sign? I didn't know she was out.
No Renee's Titan?
Vey nice group of ladies!!
Rose To Gold was more of a bargain even than Danedream! And, yes, she can go from bargain to Oaks champ.
I like Blonde Fog and Emollient but can't count out Executiveprivilage I know she's going to redeem herself!
I look forward to seeing So Many Ways as a 3YO. She could be the best of the bunch.
I always trust what trainers say. Kauai Katie won't try two turns again. Yep.

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and American Pharoah. 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. 

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as co-hosting the popular racing show, HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars, is both a Hall of Fame and NTRA poll voter, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.


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