Tipsheet: The Kentucky Oaks

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

September 1st, 2020

A sensational field of nine sophomore fillies will go postward in the prestigious $1.25 million Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs on Friday. The 1 1/8-mile test on the main surface has attracted the top ladies in the division in what promises to be a thrilling affair.

Oaks Picks

  • #1 Swiss Skydiver
  • #5 Gamine
  • #8 Hopeful Growth
  • #4 Speech
  • #3 Donna Veloce

Oaks Wagers

  • $10 Exacta 1 with 3,4,5,8
  • $1 Superfecta 1 with 3,4,5,8 with 3,4,5,8 with all

Oaks Contenders

#1 SWISS SKYDIVER has done little wrong since March for conditioner Kenny McPeek. Standout Daredevil filly has earned four graded stakes wins in her last five outings, with the lone blemish coming when an admirable second in the Blue Grass (G2) against the boys. Chestnut ran big in both local assignments to date, and she drew well in securing the rail post as well. Tyler Gaffalione retains the mount atop the Grade 1 heroine.

#2 TEMPERS RISING makes her Grade 1 debut for Dallas Stewart. Longshot daughter of Bayern comes in off a runner-up performance against allowance foes at Ellis Park. The Kentucky-bred was a smart second in the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) three prior, but she will likely need a total pace collapse to challenge the best in the cast with Leparoux riding.

#3 DONNA VELOCE is the wildcard in the field for Simon Callaghan. The California invader, who was a narrow second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) in November, has never run a bad race including a stylish score in in the Santa Ysabel (G3), her lone 2020 appearance to date. Talented Uncle Mo lass continues to train in fine fashion, but winning the Oaks off of just one prep race is the question that lingers. Santana picks up what could be a live mount.

#4 SPEECH has won or placed in each lifetime showing for McCarthy. Mr Speaker filly earned her biggest win to date with an easy tally in the deep Ashland (G1) most recently, and anything resembling that performance gives her a legitimate chance on Friday. Javier Castellano retains the ride.

#5 GAMINE looms as the one to likely catch and beat for Baffert. Brilliant daughter of Into Mischief has yet to be headed from four career races, and her dominant tallies in the Test (G1) and Acorn (G1) were things of beauty. The $1.8 million juvenile purchase smoked a bullet six panels at Del Mar in her most recent morning drill to signal her readiness for the Oaks. John Velazquez will be in the stirrups.

#6 BAYERNESS finished a distant third in both the Dogwood (G3) and Indiana Oaks (G3) in advance of her Grade 1 bow. Chestnut daughter of Bayern has obvious ability, but she would need a career best to make the frame in such a fine field. DeVaux pupil will be guided by Rafael Bejarano.

#7 SHEDARESTHEDEVIL is an exotics contender with improvement on Friday for Brad Cox. Daredevil filly is 2-for-2 at Churchill, and she comes in with a pair of dominant tallies against lesser including a romp in the Indiana Oaks. Improving bay will have Geroux in the stirrups.

#8 HOPEFUL GROWTH was last seen powering home in a convincing victory in the Monmouth Oaks (G3) for Margotta. Top-three contender responded to the blinkers going back on most recently, and I think that she will move forward with the extra ground in her debut beneath the Twin Spires. Dark bay daughter of Tapiture could benefit most if the pace is swift and contested early on. Manny Franco will be in the silks.

#9 DREAM MARIE draws widest and looks to be in a demanding spot for Matthew Williams. Graydar filly is just 1-for-7 in 2020, and she has come up short in four previous attempts at the graded stakes level. Joe Talamo will pilot the outsider.