Poised to be the lowest-odds Kentucky Oaks favorite in 11 years, two-time Grade 1 winner Gamine is the even-money morning-line favorite in Friday's 146th running of the race at Churchill Downs.
Leading the smallest Oaks field since 2005, Gamine will be looking to add to her 18-length victory in the Acorn on the Belmont Stakes undercard and a seven-length score this month in the Test at Saratoga.
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Gamine came into the week as a 1-2 favorite in overseas futures. Rachel Alexandra was the last post-time favorite that was odds-on for the Oaks. She wound up winning in 2009 by 10 1/4 lengths before going on to win the Preakness 15 days later.
Here are the post positions for Friday's race, with morning-line odds, trainer and jockey.
1. Swiss Skydiver, 8-5 (Kenny McPeek/Tyler Gaffalione) She defeated Speech in the Santa Anita Oaks and then gave Kentucky Derby contender Art Collector a good challenge when running second against the boys in the Blue Grass stakes at Keeneland on July 11. That loss is her only blemish in her last five races, which includes wins in the Alabama (G1), Santa Anita Oaks (G2), Fantasy (G3) and the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2).
"I like the inside," McPeek said after the draw. "We'll probably let her run to the first turn. I don't see us taking back."
2. Tempers Rising, 50-1 (Dallas Stewart/Julien Leparoux) A Bayern filly, Tempers Rising was second in the Fair Grounds Oaks in March, and most recently finished second in an allowance race at Ellis Park on July 31. She will be a big longshot in here.
3. Donna Veloce, 15-1 (Simon Callaghan/Ricardo Santana Jr.): The Uncle Mo filly comes into the Oaks off a 6-month layoff not having raced since winning the Santa Ysabel (G3) on March 8 at Santa Anita. Trainer Simon Callaghan has been trying to get her ready to make the Oaks off workouts, and it would be an impressive training feat should she run competitively on Friday.
4. Speech, 5-1 (Michael McCarthy/Javier Castellano): The West Coast-based filly was very impressive in the Ashland (G1), defeating both Venetian Harbor and Envoutante. She ran second to Swiss Skydiver in a four-horse field in the Santa Anita Oaks in June, but gets another shot at her here in a bigger field.
5. Gamine, 1-1 (Bob Baffert/John Velazquez) The daughter of Into Mischief comes in off dominant scores in both the Test at Saratoga and the Acorn at Belmont. She will face her stiffest test to date facing Swiss Skydiver and Speech. The biggest question surrounding Gamine is: Will she get the 1 1/8 mile distance?
"I think it's a good draw for us," Valazquez said.
"I'm happy with it," Baffert agreed.
6. Bayerness, 50-1 (Cherie DeVaux/Rafael Bejerano) Another Bayern filly, she comes in off a pair of third-place finishes in the Indiana Oaks (G3) and the Dogwood Stakes (G3) and was a late addition to the field.
7. Shedaresthedevil, 20-1 (Brad Cox/Florent Geroux) She comes in off a win in the Indiana Oaks (G3) in July but faces her stiffest test to date. She ran third to Swiss Skydiver in the Fantasy Stakes (G3) on May 1 at Oaklawn Park.
8. Hopeful Growth, 30-1 (Anthony Margotta Jr.): Won the Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks in her last, redeeming herself after a fifth-place finish in the Delaware Oaks in July.
9. Dream Marie, 50-1 (Matthew Williams/Joe Talamo): The Graydar filly was most recently fourth in the Monmouth Oaks (G3) and will be a longshot in the Oaks. Her best finish most recently was a second-place finish in the Delaware Oaks (G3) on July 4 at Delaware Park.
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