It’s our favorite day of the year—Happy Oaks Day everyone! The KY Oaks has held a special place in Thorobros lore for the past nine years. We have endured some of our worst beats and greatest scores on this day. The 2018 edition is even more special as a Thorobro-in-law trains our top pick for the Oaks, My Miss Lilly. Below are our thoughts on the stakes races and more detailed analysis on our personal favorite sequence, the late Pick 4 ending with the Oaks. Good luck everyone.
Race 5: The Eight Belles kicks off stakes action. Not a very exciting race from a betting perspective. We will key the 7, Hold Her Tight, for value. Jones always does well with 3YO fillies, she should sit a nice stalking trip on the outside and has a 7f win. The favorites, however, 1, 3 and 6 all make sense with the 3, Mia Mischief, being our top choice of that group.
Race 6: The La Troienne boasts a very logical favorite in Abel Tasman. She is the most likely winner, although there is also some uncertainty with how fillies come back as four year olds. Her workouts certainly do not suggest that to be the case (although it is interesting they have all been “handled”), but at even money, we will try to beat her. We like the 8, Martini Glass best alone with the 2 and 4.
Race 7: Our in-house turf sprint expert is all over the 1, Delectation here. He is turning back, gets Lasix, and should have plenty of pace to run at. We also like the 3, 7, 10, and 11.
Race 8- The Alysheba
2017 Kentucky Derby hero Always Dreaming returns to Churchill and gets a favorable pace set up. Still, he will likely be overbet and has not won since the Derby. Backyard Heaven is a must use. Huge step up in class but he could get first run at Always Dreaming. Hopportunity is a hard knocking veteran and should not be left off your tickets. We think Good Samaritan may want more ground, but second off the layoff for Mott is dangerous.
If it rains, Hawaakom is a great value play.
A’s: 4, 1
B’s: 5, 7
9th Race – OC75k/N1X $71k (7 furlongs)
The two, Electric Forest, and the three, C P Quality, are both coming out of maiden breaking scores on the Bluegrass and Arkansas Derby undercards, respectively. C P Quality scored on a track with some moisture in it, which might come in handy today. Both rated effectively and then closed to win the races going away. Both have top flight jockeys, and should get a good set up.
Our B team is the five, Maho Bay, who could be controlling speed. Particularly if the track is playing to speed, this horse could be tough to pass. The ten, Sworn Silence, picks up JJ Castellano, and seems to be in good form, second off the layoff after running a career best race in his most recent. Note that his lifetime worst effort came on an off track, so downgrade if the track is less than fast.
Race 10—The Edgewood
Look, Rushing Fall is the real deal. She must be on all tickets and we will toy with the idea of singling her. However, this is not an ideal post for her and without a lot of speed in the race we could see her rushing to the lead and sitting right behind the 4. Does that extra ground and early rush leave her vulnerable late? We think so, in which case this becomes a race to spread deep.
Of the other runners, we like Toinette best. She is an improving horse who stepped up going long last out. Daddy Is a Legend is second off a layoff and had all sorts of trouble last out before closing strong against the favorite. Beyond Blame is another who should like the distance and could get first run on the lead group. Cox is very good at CD and this horse will be the longer odds of the uncoupled entry. For bombers, we would consider using Kabella and Beach Walz underneath.
A’s: 2, 6, 7, 11
B’s: 1, 8, 9
11th Race – Kentucky Oaks (G1) (1 1/8 milles)
Our A team is led by the eleven, My Miss Lilly. The horse has continued to improve as the distances have lengthened, and projects to get some pace to run at. She may get first run at the tiring leaders. She has a win over a sloppy track in her career debut. Midnight Bisou is a California invader who is two noses short of being undefeated. The best race of her life is on a track with some moisture in it, and she figures to get a nice spot from which to launch her rally. Eskimo Kisses, the thirteen, is a hard trying horse that has been compromised by some wide trips in her most recent starts. She is drawn wide again, but with Churchill pro Corey Lanerie in the irons, she may be able to work out a ground saving trip and rally down the long CD stretch if they go fast up front – and there seems to be a lot of speed in this race.
Our Bs are led by the likely favorite, Monomoy Girl. There is not much to criticize about Monomoy Girl, although she has a difficult post and with her running style, risks getting hung wide while contesting a fast pace. She is also an unknown quantity on a wet track. Those two factors led to her demotion to the Bs. Coach Rocks shows up for Dale Romans, who is always dangerous on this weekend. She should sit right off the pace up front, and hopefully will have some gas left in the tank to finish. Chocolate Martini is the winner of the Fair Grounds Oaks, and she has overcome two less than ideal trips to win her last two starts. She gets an upgrade to JJ Castellano, and has beaten some other members of this field recently. Wonder Gadot is a hard trying horse that has been in the trifecta in 8 of her 9 lifetime starts. We expect the same today.
One final note – we are interested to watch Rayya, as her performance might shed some light on just how Mendelssohn might perform tomorrow in the Derby.
A’s: 10, 11, 13
B’s: 2, 4, 5, 14