Rail Runner

The Observations of a Horse Racing Enthusiast

Kentucky Oaks Updates: Firing off Works

Posted by Brian Appleton on April 29, 2011

The 136th Kentucky Oaks is just one week away. In seven short days one of the nation’s leading fillies will cross the line first to seize leadership of the division, or at least that how it seems it should work out on paper. In the real world who knows what could happen. Long shots have been having a heyday in recent Kentucky Derby preps but the only major upsets to happen most of this year in the Oaks division was when Daisy Devine turned the tables in the Fair Grounds Oaks (gr.2) and when Lilacs and Lace lit up the tote board at odds of 48-1 in the Ashland Stakes (gr.1). Even those two upsets were won by fillies that had legitimate shots in their races and sported solid records, they were simply overlooked.

Stability and consistency seems to be the ‘name of the game’ for the Oaks fillies in 2011 and it appears that this year’s field of fourteen could come up full of all legitimate contenders. There are a few fillies I would toss as of now but honestly from a handicapping standpoint almost the entire prospective field has come up with strong form. Before we get into that though there is some Oaks news that needs telling.

Celebrity chef Bobby Flay has thrown his skillet into the Kentucky Oaks fire with the recent purchase of three year old filly Her Smile, most recently seen finishing second to Hot Summer in the Comely Stakes (Gr.3) at Aqueduct on Wood Memorial day. The stakes winning daughter of Include has made seven lifetime starts since August of 2010 winning three including the 6 ½ furlong Donna Freyer Stakes at Philadelphia Park in which she defeated a very weak field. She started the year finishing fourth to Dynamic Holiday in the Florida Oaks on turf before finishing third to Wyomia in the Suncoast Stakes. Her second place finish to Hot Summer in the Comely was actually a very good performance, she just got outkicked in the stretch. Her 2011 record shows a promising progression from a fourth place finish to a third and finally a second place showing but I don’t think she’s ready to handle the Oaks field yet and win. She looked really good on the turf and I think she likes the 1 mile distance better than stretching out to 1 1/16 or 1 1/8. She’s a toss for me.

[Read the complete article here with a rundown of recent works and more at Kentucky Oaks Runner on Horse Racing Nation]

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