This week, the one and only Kentucky Oaks pool gets going. I am taking the same approach to wagering as I do for the 3YO colts in the Run for the Roses, using the same variables. Here are the variables themselves:
Top dosage profile as correlated with chef-de-race.com’s racetrack profile for Churchill Downs in 2013; best combined AWD, top class win, best Brisnet speed for Churchill; best current pace based on runstyle, best fall 2013 2YO progression; longest distance win. I included 4 categories counted as one together: all horses exploding in pace form, forging lifetime best, horses subject to bounce back after bounce, and those who are possible bounce cases.
For the Oaks and the Derby:
I rank the top 7 or close to this in each variable, and also a select amount from the field selection. I aim to rank the top 3, which will determine who I bet.
Here’s the scheme of the actual wager. Top 3 will be exacta bets to each other, win bets on each, and placing the top 2 choices by public based on odds over my top 3 in exactas. This approach is exactly what I took in winning the future wager at this time last year.
First we’ll look at the horses in…..
Here are the best of the rest from the field selections, these in no particular order :
BOND HOLDER, Cali bred, comes out of 2 4th-place finishes, both at the Grade 1 level, the Cash Call Futurity, and the BC Juvenile. This follows the Grade 1 win in the FrontRunner. All three races at 8.5 furlongs. Combined AWD 14.6 (led by Mineshaft, 7.4). He is pointed to the San Felipe on 3/8 if he heals from his air travel transport injury.
COMMISSIONER joins the field after a disappointing 6th place finish in the Fountain Of Youth on 2/22. Prior to that, a 75k allowance win an 9 furlongs and maiden-breaking 85k win. Combined AWD of 15.2 (led by AP Indy, 8.2). Despite the bad race, it represented a triple-up of races with pace of 88-93, and hit lifetime best in prior race in the allowance effort. This suggests promise of a greater effort next. Next race: Unknown.
RIDE ON CURLIN already with 7 races, never out of top 4. Last and best win was a 56k allowance 2 races back, followed by distant 3rd place in the Southwest stakes. Combined AWD of 14.6 (Curlin, 7.5). Already 3 races at Churchill; best effort just 3 races back, 3rd at a mile distance, 88 Brisnet. 2nd call pace numbers rather competitive to other pool entrants. Next race is likely the Rebel Stakes on 3/15.
RING WEEKEND: Broke maiden in 5th attempt last time at Gulfstream, at 8.5 furlongs, pace score of 91. Combined AWD of 14.9 (dam Free the Magic with 7.5). One race at CD, a 76 score at 8.5 furlongs on a race meant for turf. Next: Unknown
WE MISS ARTIE has run since last July 4, 7 races in all. Winner of the Grade 1 Breeders Futurity in October (8.5 furlongs) , 2nd in the Kittens Joy 2 races back. Mixed blessing of results all throughout, but the pace numbers are very strong. Next: Unknown.
IN TROUBLE: Undefeated in 2 races, both in sprints. Comes out of the Grade 2 win in the Futurity at Belmont last fall. improved well from maiden debut Pace numbers very good so far. Next race seems to be the Gotham Stakes back at Belmont this weekend.
BOBBY’S KITTEN in the field? Sheesh. I suppose being inactive a few months will get you this fate. All he’s done was a win in the Pilgrim at 8.5 furlongs, 3rd in the BC Juvenile Turf. Pace numbers very strong for this early stalkers. The 2 Graded wins show classic improvement and high expectation realized for age 3. Next: Unknown.
Now from the standard betting interests, here are the horses I rank in the top 6, which I present Letterman-style:
Ranked 6th: WILDCAT RED moves onto the like list after wins in the Grade 3 Hutcheson and the Grade 2 Fountain Of Youth. 1st or 2nd in 6 lifetime. Good pace numbers from last 3 races, especially the FOY over 8.5 furlongs, and the 100 Brisnet. That score is just past his maiden race of 99, and puts up a triple-up of race running 96 to 100 in last 3. Next race appears to be the Florda Derby on 3/29.
Ranked 5th: INTENSE HOLIDAY on the radar after nosing out a victory in the 8.5 furlong Risen Star, winning after 5 straight Graded entries. Great 2YO progression, whose best race prior came on Labor Day weekend, breaking maiden with a 94. The Risen Star was a 99, and a possible bounce candidate next time out, but in long term should be a threat in the TC races. He leads the point total for the KY Derby trail. Next race: Louisiana Derby, 3/29.
Ranked #1, as previous: TAPITURE. If you weren’t convinced before, you surely were last time, as he took over the pace in a win in the Southwest Stakes last time. This follows a win in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes. Never out of the money in 5 lifetime. 3 races at Churchill can’t hurt, the best being the KYJC race on 11/30 at Grade 2 over 8.5 furlongs, a 95 Brisnet. The 99 scored in the Southwest indicates the beginning of larger pace moves, even if he does toss in an off race next time. Really no flaw I can find in him. Next: Rebel Stakes, 3/15.
Ranked 9th and best out of the field is MILAM: 3 wins in 6 stars. Won a 75k sprint at Churchill with a 95 Brisnet. 2nd call pace numbers for this filly are very competitive. Broke maiden in first race with 91 score, peaked with the 95 at Churchill, matching it last time out at Calder on 2/22. Next race: Unknown
Ranked 8th: ARETHUSA: Running on the West Coast circuit, 4 of 7 in the money. Combined AWD of 15.0 (sire AP Indy 8.2). First race was a 70 Brisnet, finishing 7th of 8, then peaked with a 90 in November, winning the 100k Sharp Call. at 8.5 furlongs. Next race: un known
5th: JOINT RETURN, 3rd in maiden debut at Parx, then 3 consecutive wins at 4 lengths, 2 at Parx, one at Aqueduct (100k Busher), all at route distances. Pedigree: Include-Brunswick Star, out of Brunswick. Excellent pace numbers for this deep closer. Next: Unknown
4th: ROSALIND: In the top 4 all 5 starts. 2nd in the Alcibiad, 3rd in the Pocahontas and the BC Juvenlie Fillies. Combined AWD of 16.2 (dam is Critics Acclaim, 9.1). Strong pace numbers for this deep closer. Next race possibly is an allowance race on 2/27.
Now for the top 3, the first ones I will consider wagering:
3rd: SHE’S A TIGER. Winner of the BC Juvenile Fillies last time out in November. First or 2nd in all 6 starts going back to June, including the Chandler (G1) and the Del Mar Debutante (G1) and the Sorrento (G2) plus the Landaluce (150k). Best pace numbers of the field for this sprinter. Progressed well at 2 whose best was a 91 in the Sorrento, peaking in the BC event with a 94.
Next race appears to be the Oaks itself.
Top choice for the Oaks Pool is UNTAPABLE. Daughter of Tapit and Fun House by Prized, combined AWD of 14.8. Won the G2 Pocahontas back in September, 2nd lifetime start right at Churchill (after breaking maiden first start on same track), scoring a 93 in the process. Upstaged that with a 100, winning the 8.5 furlong, G3 Rachel Alexandra last time out on 2/22.