The Grade I, $1 million Kentucky Oaks is Friday’s feature at Churchill Downs on the eve of the Kentucky Derby. The historic 1 1/8-mile stake drew a field of 14. The Kentucky Oaks field goes postward at approximately 6:12 p.m. EST for the 11th of 13 races on the program. With many top riders in town, the stakes are high in FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game!
#10 MIDNIGHT BISOU (5-2) has made light work of her competition at Santa Anita this year. Since beginning her career with two straight second-by-a-nose finishes, she’s reeled off three straight graded stakes victories. That included an effortless score in the Grade I Santa Anita Oaks last time out. There are showers in the forecast but MIDNIGHT BISOU has already proven she can handle an off-going based on her Santa Ysabel win two-back. The versatile filly should have no problem negotiating the added ground either. Mike Smith, who won this race last year with Abel Tasman, has the assignment.
#14 MONOMOY GIRL (2-1, morning-line favorite) prefers racing up front, so this was a very bad draw for her. She also projects to have company on the lead. However, she overcame a poor start in the Rachel Alexandra two starts ago, so she’s proven she can pass rivals. MONOMOY GIRL dusted a pair of these in the Ashland Stakes to tune up for this, so she must be respected even from post 14. Florent Geroux rides.
#9 TAKE CHARGE PAULA (15-1) received a peculiar ride from Jose Ortiz in the Gulfstream Park Oaks last time out. The defending Eclipse champ will try to make amends on this filly that’s bred to handle the stretchout. TAKE CHARGE PAULA has useful tactical speed and should be laser-focused today with blinkers on. With a clean trip, she has a chance to hit the board at a solid price.
#2 COACH ROCKS (12-1) rallied wide and took over late from a hard-used TAKE CHARGE PAULA in the Gulfstream Park Oaks when last seen. She’ll have more ground and a longer stretch run to work with in the Kentucky Oaks, which should only help her. Luis Saez will be in the irons.
The play: $5 exacta box 10/14, $3 exacta 10/2,9, $2 exacta 14/2,9 ($20)
DFJ analysis: Mike Smith is a tempting option for a relatively low fee, but if either Abel Tasman (La Troienne) or MIDNIGHT BISOU (Kentucky Oaks) falter, the opportunity for precious points will be squandered. Gary Stevens has a longshot in the Oaks (SASSY SIENA) but has four other live mounts on Friday. They are headlined by the speedy Amy’s Challenge in the Eight Belles Stakes.
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