Rail Runner

The Observations of a Horse Racing Enthusiast

A Dozen Plus One in the Oaks: The Final Novel Nine

Posted by Brian Appleton on May 3, 2011

My latest Kentucky Oaks post is up on Horse Racing Nation. I started writing this morning at 9:30, had most of the article finished by about 10:30 and was just waiting on the post position draw to do some analysis. Between teaching until 3:30 I was able to finish all my analysis of the 13 fillies and proceeded to try and publish my post to my Horse Racing Nation blog. After five tries and five internet connection losses I was about fit to kill, and each time I lost my connection I kept losing all the data and links I had uploaded. Anyway, I finally got it published much later than planned after much blood, sweat and tears (sounds better than tantrums, shouting and general bad temperament!) and I hope you will enjoy it! 🙂

The Kentucky Derby has been littered with defections left and right during the past month it seems, this past week alone three colts were removed from consideration due to injury or physical issues of some kind.

Unlike the Derby the Kentucky Oaks has remained virtually unscathed, losing just a few fillies here and there but no major defections resulting from physical injury. Aside from the removal of Dancinginherdreams, who was really no surprise after two consecutive dull efforts, all has remained incredibly strong on the filly front.

Sadly things shifted just a tiny bit south on Monday when expected Oaks favorite, R Heat Lightning, was pulled from race consideration after a knee injury was discovered. According to trainer Todd Pletcher the Trippi filly will be sent to Rood and Riddle equine clinic later this week for an examination that should determine whether or not her injury is career-threatening. R Heat Lightning was training exceptionally well leading up to the Oaks after winning the Davona Dale (gr.2) and Gulfstream Oaks (gr.2) by a combined margin of 15 ½ lengths. Here’s to hoping she heals up with no additional problems and is able to resume her brilliant career on the track later in the year.

With R Heat Lightning out of the picture it appears the way has been cleared for Joyful Victory to run as a clear and decisive favorite. Most of the contenders have arrived at Churchill Downs now for the big race and the field has been set. Thirteen fillies will contest the 137th running of the $1 million Kentucky Oaks on Friday May 6th,  and breaking from post number one is my Oaks pick the Larry Jones trained Joyful Victory. So here it is, the last Novel Nine of the year. [Follow the link here to read the complete Novel Nine and share your thoughts on the Kentucky Oaks field]

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2 Responses to “A Dozen Plus One in the Oaks: The Final Novel Nine”

  1. Brian,

    JOYFUL VICTORY has been dominant at Oaklawn Park but I’ve got reservations considering her low Beyer figures (83,82). The “pair” could indicate she’s ready to progress to a new top but it also may mean she’s been earning slow figs vs. soft foes. Has she had enough competition to prepare her for this? Her style in this race shape says she’ll pass tiring fillies so she’s tough to leave out completely.

    I’m still leaning ZAZU…TURBULENT DESCENT won the Beaumont out of the SA Oaks while PLUM PRETTY throttled the Sunland Oaks group by 25 with a Oaks field-best 99 BSF. At the price and w/ Garrett Gomez up, HER SMILE looks very attractive to key underneath coming out of the quick Comely. Two turns is her best trip.

    BTW, I’ve finally got Part 2 for the Derby up…not sure if I’ll get to NEHRO, who’s final 1/8 mile clockings in both the La. Derby and Ark. Derby were :12 and small change, the fastest of this year’s crop. His post is terrible (19), but I think ARCHARCHARCH (1) and UNCLE MO (18) clearly took the worst of it in that department.

    Good luck this weekend!

    • Hi Rob,

      I don’t like Joyful Victory’s #1 post but right now that’s really all I don’t like about her. I Think she’s done just what she has to to win her races and hasn’t had to reach very deep yet like she probably will have to in the Oaks.

      I love Zazu as well I just don’t like that they brought her to Churchill so late. If I recall correctly (this is off the top of my head so forgive me if I’m wrong) but I don’t think she’s run a Beyer higher than 92 which is higher than Joyful Victory but I think racing at Santa Anita helped boost the figures a little. Plum Pretty has really flattered her form!
      I don’t really care for Her Smile. From what I’ve seen so far she’s looked average in her Chruchill Downs moves.

      I’ll be sure to stop by and check out part 2. Yes, especially Archarcharch but Uncle Mo is in a tight spot now too. Even more hurdles to pass.

      Thanks for stopping by and good luck to you as well!

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