First Look: See likely fields for Ky. Derby, Oaks undercards

First Look: See likely fields for Ky. Derby, Oaks undercards
Photo: Carlos J. Calo / Eclipse Sportswire

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The buzz at Churchill Downs on Friday and Saturday will extend beyond the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks and Derby as the track will host 11 graded stakes on the undercards.

And the names are just as big as those in the marquee events. Rich Strike returns to the scene of his 2022 Derby triumph Friday in the Alysheba (G2). In his first start since winning the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, Cody’s Wish is expected Saturday in the Churchill Downs (G1). Several colts who had been on the Derby trail will run in the American Turf (G2) and Pat Day Mile (G2).

Here is an early look at the fields.


La Troienne (G1), 1 1/16 miles, fillies and mares, 4-year-olds and up

A Mo Reay looks to stay on her hot streak after going 3-for-3 since moving to Brad Cox’s barn. Secret Oath lost by a neck to Clairiere last out in the Apple Blossom (G1) after beating that rival in the Azeri (G2) by 2 3/4 lengths. Kathleen O, who started her career last year 4-for-4, looks to get back to her winning ways after three straight runner-up efforts. She also is listed as possible in the Ruffian (G2) at Belmont on Saturday.

2023 La Troienne G1

Alysheba (G2), 1 1/16 miles, 4-year-olds and up

Rich Strike is still looking for a win since he upset the Kentucky Derby at 80-1. This would be his first start since finishing sixth in the Clark (G1) at Churchill in November. West Will Power has three wins and three seconds in his last six starts, and he beat Art Collector by 4 3/4 lengths last out in the New Orleans Classic (G1). Smile Happy’s first start since finishing eighth in the 2022 Kentucky Derby was a win in a March 16 optional-claiming allowance race at Oaklawn, followed by a third-place effort last out in the Oaklawn Mile (G3).

2023 Alysheba G2

Edgewood (G2), 1 1/16 miles (turf), 3-year-old fillies

Mission of Joy broke her maiden in December and has won her two starts since, including the Florida Oaks (G3) by a neck last out. Cairo Consort has finished in the money in all but one of her 10 career starts and was second by a neck last out in the Appalachian (G2), with Heavenly Sunday, also expected here, a length back in third.

2023 Edgewood G2

Eight Belles (G2), 7 furlongs, 3-year-old fillies

Munnys Gold is undefeated in three starts, in June, January and March. She won the Sophomore Fillies for Florida-breds by 17 1/4 lengths in her last start. Red Carpet Ready was 3-for-3, including a win in the Forward Gal (G3), before finishing third last out in the Davona Dale (G2). Olivia Twist is looking for her first win after three starts this year, but she was third last out in the Fantasy, with Grand Love, also expected here, in fifth.

2023 Eight Belles G2

Modesty (G3), 1 1/8 miles (turf), fillies and mares 4-year-olds and up

New Year’s Eve’s third-place finish in the Tom Benson Memorial was her first start in more than six months. Transient moved into graded-stakes company in November and has gone 0-for-4, with her best showing a second by a neck in the La Prevoyante (G3). Australia Mia had nine wins the last two years in Chile but is 0-for-3 under Mike Maker.

2023 Modesty G3


Turf Classic (G1), 1 1/8 miles (turf), 4-year-olds and up

Wolfie’s Dynaghost has won three of his last four starts, including a 2 1/4-length win in the Kentucky Cup Classic at Turfway last out, with Santin, also expected here, finishing fourth. Santin’s only wins in eight starts last year came in this race and the Arlington Million (G1), also at Churchill. Spooky Channel has won four of his last five, with a half-length win last out in the Muniz Memorial presented by Horse Racing Nation.

2023 Turf Classic Stakes G1

Churchill Downs (G1), 7 furlongs, 4-year-olds and up

Here Mi Song’s win by a neck in the Commonwealth (G3) last out was his first graded-stakes attempt. Hoist the Gold and Get Her Number, both expected here, finished second and third. Endorsed has won three straight, including the Fred W. Hooper (G3) and the Gulfstream Park Mile (G2).

2023 Churchill Downs Stakes G1

Derby City Distaff (G1), 7 furlongs, fillies and mares, 4-year-olds and up

Matareya came off a nearly eight-month layoff to finish second in the March 31 Matron at Oaklawn. Hot and Sultry was first or second in her first five starts, then stepped up and finished fourth in the Azeri and third in the Apple Blossom The only other probable listed by Churchill Downs was Frank’s Rockette, but she ran Saturday, winning the Roxelana.

2023 Derby City Distaff G1

Silks Horse / Sire Rating Trainer / Jockey Last Start / Next Start HRN

Horse Silk Matareya Matareya
Pioneerof the Nile
5.23 Brad H. Cox 2nd, 2023 Matron LS Probable
Last Race 2nd, 2023 Matron LS

Horse Silk Hot And Sultry Hot And Sultry
4.59 Norm W. Casse 3rd, 2023 Apple Blossom Handicap G1 Probable
Last Race 3rd, 2023 Apple Blossom Handicap G1

American Turf (G2), 1 1/16 miles (turf), 3-year-olds

Major Dude, second last out in the Jeff Ruby (G3), is at No. 22 in the Kentucky Derby points standings, and this race is a backup plan. Talk of the Nation is 3-for-4 and would make his first graded-stakes start. Mo Stash, fourth in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, won the Transylvania (G3) at Keeneland on April 7. Mendelssohns March returns to tuf, where he won his debut, after a sixth-place finish in the Blue Grass (G1).

2023 American Turf G2

Distaff Turf Mile (G2), 1 miles (turf), fillies and mares, 4-year-olds and up

Spendarella is 4-for-5, with a second in the Coronation Stakes (G1) at Ascot. Last out, she won the Del Mar Oaks (G1) by 4 1/2 lengths. Wakanaka, third in this race last year, would make her first start since a fifth-place finish in the Pegasus World Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G3). Haughty, 2-for-3 last year, hasn’t raced since winning the Lake Placid (G2) in August.

2023 Distaff Turf Mile G2

Pat Day Mile (G2), 1 mile, 3-year-olds

Gilmore makes a second try in a graded stakes after finishing second by 1 1/4 lengths in the Bay Shore (G3). General Jim won the Swale (G3) last out in his first graded-stakes attempt. Dreaming of Kona won the Mucho Macho Man by DQ in January and is 0-for-2 since, finishing sixth last out in the Tampa Bay Derby (G3).

2023 Pat Day Mile G2

Twin Spires Turf Sprint (G2), 5 1/2 furlongs (turf), 3-year-olds

Big Invasion has won seven of his last eight starts, including the Silks Run last out with Carotari, also expected here, in third. Bad Beat Brian was a head short of beating favored Caravel last out at 40-1 in the Shakertown (G2).

2023 Twin Spires Turf Sprint G2


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