The Grade I, $1 million Kentucky Oaks headlines a spectacular Friday card at Churchill Downs on the eve of the Kentucky Derby. A field of 14 three-year-old fillies will go postward in this prestigious 1 1/8-mile test. Estimated post time for the Oaks, the 11th of 13 races on the day, is 6:12 p.m. EST. Feel free to try out FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game in addition to watching and wagering!
#10 MISS SKY WARRIOR (9-2) has reeled off five straight victories under Paco Lopez coming into the Kentucky Oaks, including four at the graded level. She likes to be forwardly-placed but can win from just about anywhere, as we saw in the Davona Dale at Gulfstream two starts back. She was slammed with a bad post that day and wasn’t as fast as usual from the gate but still managed to rally from fourth. MISS SKY WARRIOR exits a romping 13-length score in Aqueduct’s Gazelle Stakes in preparation for this.
#4 PARADISE WOODS (5-2, morning-line favorite) crushed the field in the Santa Anita Oaks last time out, beating ABEL TASMAN by 11 1/2 lengths. Amazingly, it was her first start beyond six furlongs. And while her pedigree suggests that win was no fluke, there’s no guarantee she’ll make it back-to-back Grade I triumphs. PARADISE WOODS has very little foundation, racing only three times to date with only one route race to her credit. She could be vulnerable late, especially if she races close to or on what should be a hot pace. Flavien Prat should be able to save ground early on this one, which could come in handy late.
#13 ABEL TASMAN (5-1) endured rough trips in her first two starts of 2017 and drew a poor post. She’ll also be up against PARADISE WOODS again, who crushed her in the Santa Anita Oaks last time out. However, she should get a fast pace to close into under Mike Smith. Look for her late.
The play: $2 exacta box 4/10/13, $2 exacta 10/4,13 ($16)
DFJ analysis: Flavien Prat has an interesting assortment of mounts today that should make him worth the investment. Of the six horses he rides on Friday, two of them are favored, including PARADISE WOODS in the Kentucky Oaks. Prat rides a pair of live longshots; What What What in the Eight Belles and Emphatically in the Edgewood. He also has the call on Why Two, a 5-1 entrant, in the Twin Spires Turf Sprint.
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