The Kentucky Derby trail dominates all forms of racing media in the first half of the year, and the 3-year-old fillies don’t get their fair share of coverage. But this weekend is one where the Kentucky Oaks gets more attention than usual.
Beginning Friday, Churchill Downs will offer the only Kentucky Oaks Future Wager of the year, which will run alongside the fourth Kentucky Derby Future Wager. In addition, the two big races get combined in the Kentucky Oaks/Derby Double Future Wager.
Also this weekend, three Kentucky Oaks preps across the country offer 50-20-10-5 points to the top four finishers. On Saturday, the Busher will be run at Aqueduct and the Honeybee goes at Oaklawn Park. Santa Anita will host the Santa Ysabel on Sunday.
The Kentucky Oaks is run the day before the Derby, which usually means the first Friday in May. But with the Run for the Roses falling on May 1 this year, the Oaks will be run on April 30.
Here is a look at 10 of the major contenders for the Oaks. As is the case with the 3-year-old males, Horse Racing Nation also has a database for the 3-year-old fillies where you encouraged to rate the horses.
Clairiere (Curlin – Steve Asmussen – Stonestreet Stables – 3: 2-1-0 - $270, 492) This home-bred comes from distinguished Stonestreet parents and is by the Horse of the Year Curlin and the multiple Grade 1 winning mare Cavorting. She sits on top of the Oaks points list after a victory in the Rachel Alexandra (G2) at Fair Grounds last month. She is expected to run next in the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) on March 20.
Dayoutoftheoffice (Into Mischief - Tim Hamm – Blazing Meadows Farm and Siena Farm – 4: 3-1-0 - $556,500) Dayoutoftheoffice won her first three races at different racetracks, beginning with a maiden at Gulfstream Park followed by the Schuylerville (G2) at Saratoga and the Frizette at Belmont Park. She was second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) to end the year.
Kalypso (Brody’s Cause - Bob Baffert – David Bernsen, Rockingham Ranch, Chad Littlefield – 6: 2-3-1 - $285,600) Trainer Bob Baffert has won a lot of Kentucky Derbys but he also has three victories in the Oaks. This reliable filly has never finished off the board with a victory in this year’s Santa Ynez (G2) to her credit. She will be in the Santa Ysabel (G3) on Sunday.
Malathaat (Curlin – Todd Pletcher – Shadwell Stable – 3: 3-0-0 - $172, 150) Thus far, Malathaat has lived up to her top-notch Stonestreet bloodlines which fetched a $1.05 million yearling sale price. She, too, is by Curlin out of the Grade 1 winning mare Dreaming of Julia. On the track she is perfect in three starts, which all came in New York last year and include the Demoiselle (G2). Trainer Todd Pletcher has won the Oaks three times.
Simply Ravishing (Laoban - Kenny McPeek – Harold Lerner, Magdelena Racing, Nehoc Stables – 5: 3-0-0 - $414,200) This filly won the first three starts of her career. She broke her maiden at Saratoga and then won a turf stake there also. Simply Ravishing became a Grade 1 winner at Keeneland in the Alcibiades. She ended 2020 with a pair of fourth place finishes in graded stakes.
Sun Path (Munnings - Brad Cox – Juddmonte Farms – 4: 2-1-0 - $97, 892) This Brad Cox trainee ended her 2-year-old campaign breaking her maiden in her second start and then had an allowance score at Fair Grounds. In January, she pressed the pace after a poor start and raced wide to finish fourth in the Silverbulletday in New Orleans. She is entered in the Honeybee (G3) on Saturday and is 5-2 on the morning line.
Travel Column (Frosted – Brad Cox – OXO Equine – 4: 2-1-1 - $269,184) This $850,000 yearling purchase was an impressive winner of the Golden Rod (G2) at Churchill Downs in November after overcoming a troubled trip. She was second in the Rachel Alexandra behind Clairiere.
Vequist (Nyquist - Butch Reid Jr. – Gary Barber, Watchel Stable, Swilcan Stable – 5: 2-2-0 - $1,237,500) The Champion 2-Year-Old Filly crown was earned with her impressive victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. She also won the Spinaway (G1) last year. Her 2021 debut was a bit of a shocker when she finished ninth in the Davona Dale (G2) at Gulfstream. She was not competitive in the race beyond the first half-mile and then was eased down the stretch.
Will’s Secret (Will Take Charge - Dallas Stewart – Willis Horton Racing – 5: 2-0-2 - $163,300) This late-developing daughter of Will Take Charge is the winner of her last two starts. She broke her maiden at Fair Grounds in December and won the Martha Washington at Oaklawn, which was an Oaks points race. She will run in the Honeybee on Saturday and was assigned morning-line odds of 7-2.
Zaajel (Street Sense - Todd Pletcher – Shadwell Stable – 2: 2-0-0 - $84,140) This home-bred from Shadwell Stable is unbeaten in two starts. Zaajel broke her maiden by more than seven lengths at Gulfstream as a 2-year-old then moved up seamlessly to win the Forward Gal (G3) at the same track while going seven furlongs.