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Zipse At The Track

Can anyone beat Dreaming of Julia in the Kentucky Oaks?

“She’s 12 in front! She’s 15 lengths in front! She’s going to win by 20! Dreaming of Julia devastates the Gulfstream Oaks!!!”
With each word, Gulfstream Park announcer Larry Collmus became more animated in his race call of Dreaming of Julia’s tour-de-force in the Gulfstream Oaks. Just how good was the performance by the three-year-old daughter of A.P. Indy?
She ran nearly two full seconds faster than the horse many are picking to win the Kentucky Derby, Orb did while winning the Grade 1 Florida Derby a few races later on the card. 
Figures guru, Jerry Brown of Thoro-Graph, assigned Julia the fastest figure he has EVER given out. 
One of the also-rans in this race, Emollient has already returned to romp in the Grade 1 Ashland Stakes in her very next outing.
All this begs the question; can Dreaming of Julia possibly be beaten in the Kentucky Oaks
Well of course she can be beaten. Every horse can lose, and here are half a dozen pretty good reasons to believe it may happen on May 3…
Princess of Sylmar – She busted through maiden, allowance, Busanda and Busher wins both literally and figuratively. Winning those four in a row by an average of nearly ten lengths, she showed the ability to overcome slow pace, as well as, creating her own holes to run through. Princess of Sylmar was the Northeast’s top sophomore filly. That is until Close Hatches came to town for the Gazelle. On paper, Princess of Sylmar’s second place finish in New York’s Kentucky Oaks prep may seem to have been a slight disappointment, but if you consider that the dynamics of the race were clearly on the side of the winner that day, you, like me, think this filly is sitting on a big race, second time out after a freshening.
Midnight Lucky - Her debut performance in February was a real eye-opener, to say the least, but that was only in a 6 ½ furlong maiden race at Santa Anita. Her next start, in the Sunland Oaks, was even better. It was so good that I have no qualms in saying she was the best horse that ran in New Mexico that day … Sorry [Govenor] Charlie. Still, going from unraced to Kentucky Oaks champion, in a span of about 2 ½ months, would seem an extremely tall order. I realize what she is up against, but yet I cannot dismiss the daughter of Midnight Lute. She simply looks that good. Reports from Churchill Downs on her are great. Maybe Dreaming of Julia is not even the most talented filly in the race. 
Rose to Gold - Given a series of stamina building works by trainer Sal Santoro, the daughter of Friends Lake rebounded from a disappointing loss with an impressive gate-to-wire victory in the Honeybee Stakes at Oaklawn Park, and then followed it up with a facile score in a wet-track edition of the Fantasy Stakes. Clearly she was better than the rest of the three-year-old fillies in Arkansas, but can she really handle this bunch? She's already proved an incredible bargain, and win, lose, or draw in the Kentucky Oaks, Rose to Gold is a remarkable story. As for winning next week, I don’t think she needs the lead to win, and I know Calvin is high on her. The answer might just be yes. 
Beholder - Any doubt as to whether or not last year’s Queen of the juvenile fillies would be able to get it done at three were erased by a pair of dominating grade 1 performances. Her wins in the Las Virgenes and Santa Anita Oaks were thorough and more than restored any luster lost after a season opening defeat. While I reserve my doubt as whether or not she can wire this good a bunch of fillies away from Santa Anita, I certainly can understand why so many smart people consider her one of the fillies to beat in the run for the lilies. I expect her to be the one they all have to catch on the far turn.
Unlimited Budget – Admittedly this undefeated daughter of Street Sense was one that did not catch my immediate fancy, but to say that she has done nothing wrong in her four-race career would be an understatement. From a romping win in her career debut, to a powerful win in the Fair Ground Oaks, she makes it a little bit easier to believe in her with each start. Joining Dreaming of Julia and Princess of Sylmar from the Todd Pletcher armada, this one will not be top choice on the big day, but on the other hand, it should come as no surprise if she continues to do what she has been doing all along … winning.
Close Hatches – Speaking of undefeated fillies, this good looking daughter of First Defence is perfect in three starts. I was really impressed with her rallying victory in her career debut, and in her next two starts, she showed good speed around two-turns. Bill Mott has three good sophomore fillies, in her, Flashy Gray, and Emollient, and I’m beginning to reverse field in my thinking of which one is the best of the bunch. It certainly might be her. Despite having a tactical advantage in the Gazelle, she demonstrated tons of class in turning away a filly that I really like rather easily. She would probably be the most surprising to me of the seven mentioned here, but we still do not know for sure just how good she really is.


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Older Comments about Can anyone beat Dreaming of Julia in the Kentucky Oaks? ...

Forty Niner would have had a say that next year had it not been for the most incompetent ride I have, in all seriousness, EVERy witness when Julie Krone took the almost need to lead Forty Niner off the pace and down by the rail (WHERE no horse save Gulch had moved up all day.) we will never know, but I'll bet several dozen other riders would have not put in such an incompetent move.
Also, the next year with America's Horse winning in the dark at Churchill. Awesome.
I'm with you LAZ. Great, great race. Last night I re-watched the '86 Kentucky Derby. It suddenly hit me that these two greats, Shoemaker and Ferdinand, would be joined with terribly tragic endings.
Jay that '87 BCC will always be in my top ten favorite races all time.
No doubt. Good point.
THose all come the silver based age whne you had to take 30 shots to get one great one...DIgital is far cheaper and quicker
Now that is where the word AWESOME comes in to play.
I still have that photo as my screensaver.
I can't imagine what it must've been like standing on the rail and seeing those three literally battle down the stretch.
I took shots, on post parade, of every entrant in that field save on from down on the rail and OFC OURSE you know who that was??
"....and WILD AGAIN does it!"
Truer words have never been spoken, tv.
of all the classics, too many forget how dramatic the inaugural actually was.
Nod to the inaugural, though. Woulda given almost anything to have been there like you were.
IMO, that '87 BCC is legendary, like the inaugural.
Unbeaten exists. Unbeatable does not.
the two Derby winners Classic was a good one. We were right about the 1/8th pole and had to guage from a parallzx behind that favors the outside horse....Eyes from that angle gave it to the wider placed Alysheba.
Yeah LAZ, I've always said if Gate Dancer had the mentality more like Swale (drive on pass ya), and less like Ferdinand, HE would've gone down as one of the greatest in the last 1/2 of last century. He ducked no one, and faced all the best of that day.
Quote: Colin did better than others, for sure, but unbeatable doesn't exist Am I to review the unbeaten t-breds out there yet again? including Bay Roanld, Ajax, Flying Childers etc?? The word impossible does not realte to the 30 something all time winners.
Phone Trick.... I loved them all.

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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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