The Grade I, $1.25 million Kentucky Oaks puts three-year-old fillies in the spotlight at Churchill Downs on the Friday before the Kentucky Derby. The prestigious 1 1/8-mile heat drew an overflow field of 16, including two also-eligibles. Post time for the Kentucky Oaks, Race 11 on a lucrative 13-race program, is 6:12 p.m. Eastern.
#15 DUNBAR ROAD (5-1) will need a scratch to draw in, but if she does, she poses a major threat to favored BELLAFINA. The daughter of Quality Road was sensational in her career debut, crushing maidens at Gulfstream by over eight lengths. Less than a month later, DUNBAR ROAD was entered back in the Gulfstream Park Oaks. She was second by a half-length to CHAMPAGNE ANYONE while getting to that rival deep in the stretch. The extra 1/16th of a mile DUNBAR ROAD would get in the Kentucky Oaks should aid her cause. The Chad Brown trainee is eligible to improve in her third career try and has Jose Ortiz aboard.
#10 CHAMPAGNE ANYONE (6-1) won twice as a juvenile but was clearly a step behind the best in her crop in the speed figure department. She’s flipped the script at age three, finishing third in the Forward Gal and Davona Dale before putting it all together for the score in the Gulfstream Park Oaks. The Ian Wilkes trainee has a good post and has drilled well for the Kentucky Oaks. CHAMPAGNE ANYONE once again has Chris Landeros in the irons.
#14 RESTLESS RIDER (6-1) was campaigned aggressively at age two but never missed the exacta in six starts. That included a Grade I victory in Keeneland’s Alcibiades Stakes. RESTLESS RIDER was laid off for over four months when she returned in last month’s Ashland Stakes but nearly held off OUT FOR A SPIN while running a career-best speed figure. If she takes another step forward in her second try at age three, RESTLESS RIDER could be a handful late. Brian Hernandez Jr. maintains the assignment.
#4 BELLAFINA (2-1, morning-line favorite) owns some of the flashiest victories in the field but frequently faces few foes. In fact, since winning the Grade II Sorrento Stakes at Del Mar last August, BELLAFINA has faced more than four rivals just once, when she was a disappointing fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Churchill Downs. Since she’s shown little grit and performed poorly in her lone start outside California, BELLAFINA seems like a bad bet at 2-1 or less. Flavien Prat flies in for the call.
The play: $10 win 15, or $10 win 10
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