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Kentucky Oaks 2020 Report (9-30-19)

The Kentucky Oaks points race series for 2020 is officially off and running. Lazy Daisy won the Pocahontas (G3) at Churchill Downs on Saturday, Sept. 14, and Bast captured the Chandelier Stakes (G1) for Bob Baffert at Santa Anita Park Sept. 27. The next points race is the Alcibaides (G1) at Keeneland Oct. 4, followed by Belmont’s Frizette (G1) Oct. 6.

Kentucky Oaks 2020 Points Race Recaps

Pocahontas Recap (9-14-19) - Winner: Lazy Daisy ($16.40)

Serengeti Empress won this race by a mile last year. In the first Oaks points race, Lazy Daisy and His Glory basically battled from start to finish. In the end, it was California shipper Lazy Daisy prevailing by a hard fought length and a quarter. 43-1 longshot His Glory was clearly second best beaten favorite Portrait was miles best of the rest in 3rd. This was a very well-spaced field. Blood Curdling was 9+ back in 4th, and it was three more lengths to Morning Gold. Lotta Love was another five back in 6th place, and it was 12+ to Shadilee. The distant trailer was Addilyn. The winner completed her 8.5f journey in 1:44.89. If nothing else, she flattered runaway Del Mar Debutante (G1) winner Bast. For final time comparison, Dennis’ Moment traveled the same distance in the Iroquois (G3) in 1:43.58.

Chandelier Stakes (G1) Recap (9-27-19) - Winner: Bast ($2.40)

It was not easy but overwhelming favorite Bast got the job done, and I thought she ran well. The race shape completely changed after expected front runner Leucothea bobbled at the start and threw the rider. The pace really failed to develop after that, and Comical had a short advantage over Been Studying Her and Bast. There were three dirt routes on the day and this race by far had the slowest fractions (24.92, 49.54, and 1:13.98). Comical almost stole this one, but Bast pressed outside and got by the stubborn early runner to score by a neck. The top two were 3-lengths clear of K P Dreamin, and Been Studying Her was 15+ clear of Buyer’s Remorse. Bast remains my top ranked 2-year-old filly, and she looks like a solid threat in the BC Juvenile Fillies (G1).

Bast Chandelier Stakes Past Performances 

Kentucky Oaks 2020 Points Leaderboard (after Chandelier)

1. Lazy Daisy - 10 points

1. Bast - 10 points

3. His Glory - 4 points

3. Comical - 4 points

5. Portrait - 2 points

5. K P Dreamin - 2 points

7. Blood Curdling - 1 point

7. Been Studying Her - 1 point

Jarrod Horak’s Fabulous Five Kentucky Oaks 2020 Contenders (9-29-19)

#1 - BAST - Early division leader after G1 wins in Del Mar Futurity and Chandelier.

#2 - DONNA VELOCE - Sensational in SA bow Sept. 28. The next Bellafina for Callaghan?

#3 - ALANDRA - Gritty 7f bow at SAR Sept. 1. Shug’s filly breezed at Belmont Sept. 28.

#4 - PERFECT ALIBI - Adirondack & Spinaway winner goes next in Alcibiades Oct. 4.

#5 - FRANK’S ROCKETTE - 2nd in Adirondack & Spinaway. Breezed at SAR Sept. 23.

Key Trends for Kentucky Oaks (2000-2019)

Top Preps: Keep a very close eye on horses wintering at Fair Grounds. Since 2004, a horse with at least one 3-year-old start at that venue has won the Oaks ten times, including 2019 winner Serengeti Empress. Another positive is a race at Churchill Downs prior to the Oaks (10 winners). The Ashland at Keeneland has also been a productive final prep race (6 winners). Horses making their final Oaks prep in Southern California have struck four times. Interestingly, none of the last twenty winners had their final prep at Gulfstream Park.

Four of the last twenty Oaks winners competed in the BC Juvenile Fillies. Three finished in the trifecta in the BC (Blind Luck, Proud Spell, Ashado), and 2019 Oaks winner Serengeti Empress finished 7th in the Cup.  

Jockeys: Mike Smith has won a couple of recent runnings in 2013 (Princess of Sylmar) and 2017 (Abel Tasman).

Trainers: Larry Jones is responsible for a trio of winners since 2008 (Lovely Marie, Believe You Can, Proud Spell). Todd Pletcher has saddled three Oaks winners since 2004 (Princess of Sylmar, Rags To Riches, Ashado). Bob Baffert also has three winners (Abel Tasman, Plum Pretty, Silverbulletday). Jerry Hollendorfer has three well-space winners - Lite Light (1991), Pike Place Dancer (1996), Blind Luck (2010). Chalk up a couple of wins for Steve Asmussen since 2005 (Untapable, Summerly). Going back a bit, Wayne Lukas had four winners between 1982-1991.

Pedigree: Give bonus points to horses with Medaglia d’Oro or A. P. Indy in the bloodlines. Serengeti Empress had A. P. Indy in the third generation on the dam side of her pedigree.  

Kentucky Oaks winners: 2000-2019

2019 Serengeti Empress (Alternation - Havisham, by Bernardini) - Trained by Tom Amoss

She checked multiple boxes from a recent trend standpoint. She wintered at FG and was a graded stakes winner at that venue (won G2 Rachel Alexandra Stakes), and she had strong form at CD (won G2 Pocahontas). The negatives were a below par final prep in the FG Oaks, and her need-to-lead running style. In her defense, she bled in her final prep, and she got to the front under Jose Ortiz and kept on going in the Oaks.  

2018 Monomoy Girl (Tapizar - Drummette, by Henry Hughes) - Trained by Brad Cox

Raced four times as a juvenile (won Rags To Riches at CD), and concluded her freshman campaign with a place finish in the G2 Golden Rod. She wintered at FG (won Rachel Alexandra Stakes), and shipped to Keeneland and won her final Oaks prep in the G1 Ashland.

2017 Abel Tasman (Quality Road, Vargas Girl, by Deputy Minister) - Trained by Bob Baffert

Had a 4-race juvenile campaign in Southern California, and she won her last three starts that year, including the G1 Starlet at Los Al. She finished 2nd in her first two sophomore starts at Santa Anita (Santa Ysabel, SA Oaks), and stormed from off the pace to win the Kentucky Oaks on a wet track.

2016 Cathryn Sophia (Street Boss - Sheave, by Mineshaft) - Trained by John Servis

Bred in Maryland by Robert T. Manfuso, she won both of her 2-year-old outings, including the Gin Talking Stakes at Laurel Park. She spent the winter in Florida and won back-to-back stakes races at Gulfstream Park in 2016 (G2 Forward Gal, G2 Davona Dale). In her final Oaks prep, she finished 3rd in the G1 Ashland at Keeneland.

2015 Lovely Maria (Majesticperfection, Thundercup, by Thunder Gulch)

Her juvenile season consisted of four races (a win, a pair of place finishes, and a 4th in the Trapeze Stakes at Remington). She wintered at Fair Grounds and raced twice there (2nd in G2 Rachel Alexandra). She captured her final Oaks prep in the G1 Ashland at Keeneland.

2014 Untapable (Tapit, Fun House, by Prized) Trained by Steve Asmussen

Won her first two career starts at Churchill before shipping to Southern California and disappointing in a pair of graded stakes (3rd in G1 Hollywood Starlet). She spent the winter at Fair Grounds, and she won a pair of stakes races at that venue (G3 Rachel Alexandra, G2 FG Oaks).

2013 Princess of Sylmar (Majestic Warrior, Storm Dixie, by Catienus) - Trained by Todd Pletcher

Competed three times as a juvenile, winning her final two outings at Penn National and Aqueduct. She remained in New York for her first three starts as a sophomore, with wins in the Busanda and Busher, and a runner-up finish in the G2 Gazelle.

2012 Believe You Can (Proud Citizen, El Fasto, by El Prado) - Trained by Larry Jones

Went 3-for-5 in 2011 including a stakes score in the G3 Tempted. Spent the winter at Fair Grounds and won the Silverbulletday, ran 4th in the G3 Rachel Alexandra, and captured the G2 FG Oaks.

2011 Plum Pretty (Medaglia d’Oro, Liszy, by A. P. Indy) - Trained by Bob Baffert

Raced just once in 2010, and she won that maiden event at Hollywood Park. She started off her 3-year-old season with show finishes at Santa Anita Park in the G2 Santa Ynez and G1 Las Virgenes. In her final Oaks prep, she captured the Sunland Park Oaks in New Mexico.

2010 Blind Luck (Pollard’s Vision, Lucky One, by Best of Luck) - Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer

She raced six times as a 2-year-old with wins in the G1 Oak Leaf and G1 Hollywood Starlet, a 2nd in the G1 Debutante, and a show finish in the G1 BC Juvenile Fillies. She had a trio of 3-year-old starts prior to the Oaks, and she won two of those (G1 Las Virgenes, G2 Fantasy). She bucked a few trends. She was not afraid to travel (Florida, California, Arkansas), she raced more than many of the recent winners (Oaks was her tenth career start), and she was one of the few to compete in the BC Juvenile Fillies.

2009 Rachel Alexandra (Medaglia d’Oro, Lotta Kim, by Roar) - Trained by Hal Wiggins

She was 6th in her career debut at Churchill Downs, and that was the only time she ever finished out of the exacta. She graduated in her next start at that oval, and she followed that up with a 2nd in the G2 Debutante. She was not nearly done as a 2-year-old. She won an allowance race at Keeneland in October 2008, and returned to Churchill and was 2nd in the G3 Pocahontas and 1st in the G2 Golden Rod. She resurfaced in 2009 at Oaklawn Park, and she won the Maratha Washington Stakes. She traveled to Fair Grounds for the G2 FG Oaks (she won that), and she returned to Arkansas and polished off her rivals in the G2 Fantasy. She was similar to Blind Luck in that she was not afraid to travel and race, and her busy schedule gave her a very strong foundation. It would catch up to her as a 4-year-old, but she had an outstanding winning run from November 2008 thru September 2009.

2008 Proud Spell (Proud Citizen, Pacific Spell, by Langfuhr) - Trained by Larry Jones

Won her first three starts including the G2 Matron at Belmont Park, and she ended her freshman campaign with a 2nd in the G1 BC Juvenile Fillies. In a common theme, she wintered at Fair Grounds (2nd in G3 Silverbulletday, 1st in G2 FG Oaks), and she shipped to Keeneland and ran 3rd in the G1 Ashland.

2007 Rags To Riches (A. P. Indy, Better Than Honor, by Deputy Minister) - Trained by Todd Pletcher

Late bloomer only raced once as a juvenile, and she was 4th in that maiden affair at Churchill Downs. She rattled off three straight wins at Santa Anita to kick off her 3-year-old season (1st in G1 Las Virgenes, 1st in G1 SA Oaks). After winning the Oaks, she took down Curlin in the G1 Belmont Stakes. She finished 2nd in her final career start in the G2 Gazelle at Belmont Park. She was not around long but she sure left a lasting mark.

2006 Lemons Forever (Lemon Drop Kid, Kritikola, by Tough Critic) - Trained by Dallas Stewart

Talk about shipping, this one was all over the map early in her career. She started out finishing 9th at Churchill Downs, and ended her brief juvenile season with a maiden win at Turfway Park. She was 2nd vs. allowance company at Louisiana Downs to begin her 3-year-old campaign, and she followed that up with an allowance win at Oaklawn, and a 3rd in the G3 Bourbonette at Turfway. It was bombs away at 47-1 in the Kentucky Oaks. She never won another stakes race.

2005 Summerly (Summer Squall, Here I Go, by Mr. Prospector) - Trained by Steve Asmussen

Her three juvenile starts featured a maiden win at Keeneland and a 3rd in the G3 Golden Rod. Just like many others, she wintered at Fair Grounds (1st in G3 Silverbulletday and 1st in G2 FG Oaks), and she was 4th in the G1 Ashland prior to winning the Oaks.

2004 Ashado (Saint Ballado, Goulash, by Mari’s Book) - Trained by Todd Pletcher

Rattled off three straight wins to begin her racing career in New York including the G2 Schuylerville and G1 Spinaway at Saratoga. She wrapped up 2-year-old racing with a 3rd in the G1 Frizette, a 2nd in the G1 BC Juvenile Fillies, and a win in the G2 Demoiselle. She started 2004 with a win in the G2 Fair Grounds Oaks, and her last Oaks prep was a place finish in the G1 Ashland at Keeneland.

2003 Bird Town (Cape Town - Dear Birdie, by Storm Bird) - Trained by Nick Zito

Very consistent filly finished in the top three in all four juvenile starts (graduated at Churchill Downs). Her first two starts as a 3-year-old were at Gulfstream Park (1st in Charon Stakes), and her last Oaks prep was a place finish in the G2 Beaumont at Keeneland.

2002 Farda Amiga (Broad Brush - Fly North, by Pleasant Colony) - Trained by Paulo Lobo

All five starts in Southern California prior to Oaks. She raced twice as a 2-year-old (3rd in G3 Miesque). As a sophomore, she was 7th in the Blue Norther, 1st in an allowance race at Santa Anita, and 4th in the G1 SA Oaks.

2001 Flute (Seattle Slew - Rougeur, by Blushing Groom) - Trained by Robert Frankel

Lightly raced with a Southern California campaign, she was 2nd in her lone juvenile start at Hollywood Park. She broke her maiden at Santa Anita in January 2001, and was 2nd in the G1 SA Oaks.

2000 Secret Status (A. P. Indy - Private Status, by Alydar) - Trained by Neil Howard

Failed to hit the board in her first two starts at Belmont Park, but she really picked up steam after that. She graduated at Keeneland and was 3rd in the G3 Golden Rod at Churchill in her final two starts as a 2-year-old. She opened up her 3-year-old campaign with a couple of allowance wins at Gulfstream Park, and ended up 3rd in the G3 Davona Dale at that oval. In her final Oaks prep, she won the G3 Florida Oaks at Tampa Bay Downs.
 

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