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OAKS handicapping

May 6, 2016

This will be straight forward and about each horse in the race, starting from the one post and working our way to the fourteen...one man's attempt to be as unbiased as possible and run through the field . I have linked each horse to their page on the Kentucky Oaks website, so you can watch replays and dive into the handicapping rabbit hole as much as you choose...here are the past performances as well.

Basics:
The Kentucky Oaks is one mile and one eighth, contested by fourteen three year old fillies (girls). This is the furthest distance most have ever run. Lewis Bay is the only winner (twice in fact) at a mile and an eighth.

Terra Promessa:
Has won four races straight, has trained well leading up to this race, and has drawn the inside post. She has good speed from the gate, which should put her in a good position going into the first turn. What concerns me is how unsettled she was in her last race. She was fighting her rider and was fortunate to hold on and win. I think the extra distance hurts her and the big crowd keys her up to running very aggressive in the beginning. She likely plays into the pace scenario and I don't think she hits the board.

Weep No More:
Raised at Hinkle Farms in Paris Kentucky, she won the Ashland stakes at Keeneland in an amazing way flying from last to first and just nailing Rachel's Valentina on the wire. She is owned by great folks, trained by great folks, and bred by great folks...so I hope she runs huge. On paper I don't like how she prefers to race from way off the pace, because I don't think the race will set up for a closer...but she should love the extra distance and will be ridden by the perennial leading rider of Churchill Downs. She's very live.

Lewis Bay:
Yes, I am biased...but I think the race sets up well for her. She has won at the distance (twice), has trained incredibly into the race, and I believe the race sets up well for her. Chad Brown, her trainer, has done a tremendous job targeting this race and bringing her along for this day. From a strategy standpoint she would like to follow a pace horse around the far turn and then fly pass them in the stretch. I think the pace scenario will set up really well for her, and while I am biased, why not?! Hopefully she is our 34th Grade 1 winner!

Go Maggie Go:
Lightly raced filly with a ton of talent. She should have a similar trip as Lewis Bay, and it will be a matter of who gets the better trip, and who is better on the day. This will be the third race of her life and I think it is asking a lot for her to take on this level of competition, especially this early in her career. However, she is trained by Dale Romans, who grew up at Churchill and knows it better than most trainers...huge chance if she can overcome her inexperience. If I'm not mistaken LeBron was rookie of the year without playing in college, so why not?!

Dream Dance
I dont think she is fast enough.

Mokat
She ran a good second to the best horse in the country (Songbird)...she will be a long price and is trained by a top west coast trainer. She will be a big long-shot, but has impressed in the mornings training into this race...so if you like betting trifecta's and superfecta's, I think you use her.

Mo d'Amour:
I don't think she can get the distance...her same connections won the Oaks with Princess of Sylmar, but this filly has a distance limitation in my opinion. 

Royal Obsession:
She's interesting, while she should get the distance and I really like her rider...I don't think she is in the top 4 on paper.

Paola Queen:
Sets the pace, won't be able to get the distance.

Venus Valentine:
I was disappointed in her last race...I think she needs a hot pace and I don't think she is going to get it in this race.

Rachel's Valentina:
She is a top filly. Amazing pedigree, her mother Rachel Alexandra won the Kentucky Oaks in such a fashion, you have to watch here I mean goosebumps. For me she isn't a great bet because she will be the favorite and a lot of the public will be betting her because of her mother and as fans. I believe she runs in the top three, and may win, but I will bet elsewhere.

Cathryn Sophia:
Probably the fastest horse in the race, she won her first four races in a fashion that was just breathtaking. Her last race exposed her distance limitations in my mind, now breaking from the 12 position I think it's too much to overcome. She's an incredibly talented filly and if the pace is soft, we will have a stretch dual for the ages between her and Rachel...with the stalkers and closers unable to make up ground.

Land Over Sea:
She is a really interesting filly. She won her last race very well and it appears she can sit anywhere in a race and come running. I think the outside post is tough to overcome and I look elsewhere, but would not be surprised if she is a factor.

Taxable:
I hate the post position, but love her jockey and love her morning line odds (20-1). At that kind of price I think she is really interesting. She was moving really well at the end of her last race and I think will relish the distance. She will likely be closing and hoping for a hot pace, I don't think the pace will set up for her, but if any rider could overcome that Mike Smith can and I plan to use her in exoctic bets.

 

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