Brad Cox, a native son of Louisville, Ky., has twice found the winner’s circle after Churchill Downs’s second-biggest race. He sends out three fillies Friday, including the favorite, in pursuit of his third such score.
Wet Paint is the 5-2 morning-line favorite for the Grade 1, $1.25 million Kentucky Oaks. Post time from Churchill is 5:51 p.m. EDT, with USA Network showing the 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-old fillies.
The Kentucky Oaks will run Friday under the Twin Spires for the 149th time. The race goes off approximately 25 hours before Saturday’s Kentucky Derby and highlights a card that boasts seven stakes, six of which are graded.
Cox won two of the last five runnings of the Kentucky Oaks with champion Monomoy Girl (2018) and Shedaresthedevil (2020). He sends out Wet Paint, Botanical (4-1) and The Alys Look (15-1) for the 2023 Oaks.
Wet Paint is a homebred for powerhouse racing operation Godolphin. The Blame filly dominated Oaklawn’s series of Kentucky Oaks points preps, winning the Martha Washington Stakes, Honeybee Stakes (G3) and, most recently April 1, the Fantasy Stakes (G3).
Jockey Flavien Prat, who will ride Angel of Empire for Cox in the Kentucky Derby, has the mount on Wet Paint in the Oaks. Prat seeks his first win in this event.
Botanical rides a four-race winning streak, with each of those victories coming over the all-weather track at Turfway Park. She took the Bourbonette Oaks on March 25 but has never won a race on dirt.
Southlawn (8-1) is 2-for-2 this year. She jumped from allowance flight to win the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) at 8-1 odds March 25 for trainer Norm Casse.
Pretty Mischevious (10-1) finished second to Southlawn in that race last out in New Orleans. Prior to that, the Brendan Walsh trainee took the Rachel Alexandra Stakes (G2) in February over the same course.
Affirmative Lady (10-1) has won back-to-back starts, including the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) on April 1, for trainer Graham Motion.
Defining Purpose (12-1) is the only entrant in this race to have won a Grade 1 race in 2023. Trained by Kenny McPeek, she upset Keeneland’s Ashland Stakes (G1) on April 7 at 20-1 odds.
Wonder Wheel (12-1) finished a disappointing sixth of seven in the Ashland. The Eclipse Award winner for 2022’s champion juvenile filly has not won either of her two starts this year for trainer Mark Casse.
Here is a look at the field for the 2023 Kentucky Oaks (trainers and jockeys in parentheses) with morning-line odds:
1. Mimi Kakushi (Salem bin Ghadayer, Mickael Barzalona), 20-1
2. The Alys Look (Brad Cox, Javier Castellano), 15-1
3. Gambling Girl (Todd Pletcher, Irad Ortiz Jr.), 15-1
4. Southlawn (Norm Casse, Reylu Gutierrez), 8-1
5. Wonder Wheel (Mark Casse, Joel Rosario), 12-1
6. Botanical (Brad Cox, Chris Landeros), 4-1
7. Wet Paint (Brad Cox, Flavien Prat), 5-2
8. Promiseher America (Ray Handal, Jorge Vargas Jr.), 30-1
9. And Tell Me Nolies (Peter Miller, Ramon Vazquez), 15-1
10. Flying Connection (Todd Fincher, Florent Geroux), 15-1
11. Defining Purpose (Kenny McPeek, Brian Hernandez Jr.), 12-1
12. Dorth Vader (Michael Yates, Luis Saez), 20-1
13. Affirmative Lady (Graham Motion, John Velazquez), 10-1
14. Pretty Mischievous (Brendan Walsh, Tyler Gaffalione), 10-1
TimeformUS pace projections show Flying Connection seizing the early lead under jockey Florent Geroux and setting a fast pace. Favorite Wet Paint is projected to attempt a closing run from the back.
Visit Horse Racing Nation’s free past performances page for more information on Friday’s Kentucky Oaks and Saturday’s Kentucky Derby.
Kentucky Oaks links
Horse Racing Nation writers make Kentucky Oaks 2023 expert picks.
Matt Shifman analyzes all 14 fillies who will run in the Kentucky Oaks, separating win contenders from runners to toss.
Ed DeRosa gives Kentucky Oaks fair odds and explains why he is looking outside of Brad Cox’s team of fillies for his exacta box bet.
From Southlawn in first to Dorth Vader in last, Padraic Manocchio ranks the 14-filly Kentucky Oaks field.
Reinier Macatangay identifies three fillies who would not mind rain Friday in the Kentucky Oaks, including favorite Wet Paint.
Brian Zipse writes why he is excited to bet Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) winner Southlawn in the Kentucky Oaks. He says the filly has a nice running style, with enough tactical speed to stay close before finishing strongly and has really come to hand of late.
“Going into it, if I was just another first-time (Kentucky) Derby or Oaks trainer then I would probably be a lot more nervous,” Southlawn trainer Norm Casse said. “I don't want to say I've been there done that, but I've been involved in some really important races and big-time races. But still, the significance of it does start weighing down on you.”
This week on HorseCenter, hosts Zipse and Shifman offer their final preview of Kentucky Derby 2023 with draw analysis, top picks, top long shots and favorite wagers. They also reveal their top selections for the Kentucky Oaks.
Kentucky Oaks card
Here is a look at other stakes races on Friday’s card at Churchill Downs. All post times are EDT.
12:43 p.m. – $600,000 Alysheba Stakes (G2), 4-and-up, 1 1/16 miles
West Will Power (2-1), runner-up at Churchill last year in the Clark Stakes (G1), enters off a New Orleans Classic Stakes (G2) win March 25 at Fair Grounds. Trainer Brad Cox and jockey Flavien Prat team up with the 6-year-old son of Bernardini. Bill Mott trains Art Collector (5-2), the Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) victor who was runner-up in the New Orleans Classic. 2022 Kentucky Derby hero Rich Strike (7-2) makes his first start since a sixth-place effort Nov. 25 in the Clark for trainer Eric Reed.
1:26 p.m. – $300,000 Modesty Stakes (G3), 4-and-up fillies and mares, 1 1/8 miles (turf), USA Network
Shantisara (2-1), a Grade 1 victor in 2021 for trainer Chad Brown, returned to the winner’s circle March 11 at Tampa Bay in the Hillsborough Stakes (G2). Prat will climb aboard the 5-year-old Coulsty mare. Brown also trains another Grade 1 winner in McKulick (5-2), who returns from a layoff dating to a second-place finish Oct. 15 at Keeneland in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1). The Brendan Walsh-trained New Year’s Eve (5-1) won the Edgewood Stakes (G2) on last year’s Kentucky Oaks card and was third March 25 in the Tom Benson Memorial Stakes.
2:09 p.m. – $500,000 Eight Belles Stakes (G2), 3-year-old fillies, seven furlongs, USA Network
Munnys Gold (6-5) is off to a 3-for-3 start to her career for trainer Todd Pletcher, including Sophomore Fillies Stakes win by a whopping 17 1/4 lengths March 26 at Tampa. Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. gets the call on the Munnings filly. Rusty Arnold trains Red Carpet Ready (3-1), a Grade 3 winner who cuts back after finishing third at one mile March 4 in the Davona Dale Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream. Accede (5-1) debuted a winner March 16 at Gulfstream for Brown and climbs the class ladder for her second race.
3:03 p.m. – $300,000 Unbridled Sidney Stakes, 3-and-up fillies and mares, 5 1/2 furlongs (turf), USA Network
Caravel (4-5), the 2022 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint heroine, won her 2023 bow April 8 at Keeneland in the Shakertown Stakes (G2). Jockey Tyler Gaffalione stays aboard the 6-year-old Mizzen Mast mare for Cox. Chris Block trains Oeuvre (5-1), a multiple stakes winner who looks to rebound from a ninth-place finish April 15 at Keeneland in the Giant’s Causeway Stakes. Fellow stakes winner Bay Storm (6-1) was third Feb. 18 at Santa Anita in the Wishing Well Stakes.
4:04 p.m. – $750,000 La Troienne Stakes (G1), 4-and-up fillies and mares, 1 1/16 miles, USA Network
Secret Oath (3-1), the 2022 Kentucky Oaks victor, leads this Grade 1 race on the 2023 Oaks card after finishing second April 15 at Oaklawn in the Apple Blossom Handicap (G1). Gaffalione will get a leg up on the 4-year-old Arrogate filly for trainer D. Wayne Lukas. Brown trains Search Results (4-1), the 2021 Acorn Stakes (G1) winner, whose last start was a sixth-place finish Nov. 5 at Keeneland in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff. 2022 Cotillion Stakes (G1) winner Society (4-1) stretches back out to two turns for trainer Steve Asmussen after running third April 8 at Keeneland in the seven-furlong Madison Stakes (G1).
4:51 p.m. – $500,000 Edgewood Stakes (G2), 3-year-old fillies, 1 1/16 miles (turf), USA Network
Cairo Consort (3-1) won a Grade 3 race three starts back at Gulfstream and was second last out at Keeneland on April 8 in the Appalachian Stakes (G2). Gaffalione pilots the Cairo Prince filly for Pletcher. Mark Casse trains Papilio (7-2), who won the Appalachian by a neck over Cairo Consort. Mission of Joy (5-1) enters on a three-race winning streak for trainer Graham Motion, capped by a Florida Oaks (G3) score March 11 at Tampa.