Value plays on the Kentucky Oaks undercard
A sensational 13-race card will be hosted by Churchill Downs on Friday, headlined by the $1.25 million Kentucky Oaks (G1). A total of six graded races are on the slate, and the entire card is rich with strong and competitive fields.
Here a some horses of interest to me that will offer some value:
Race 3 -- Allowance
Conditioner Wesley Ward is very good when running fresh horses, and I am envisioning a top performance from #6 Guana Cay off the shelf in her local debut. The daughter of Air Force Blue flashed good potential as a juvenile, and her works have been swift in preparation of her sophomore bow. Bay gets Lasix and inherits top pilot Joel Rosario for the voyage.
Race 8 -- La Troienne S. (G1)
I have long admired Chad Brown’s #3 Dunbar Road and will side with her in her five-year-old debut. Classy Quality Road mare has never run a poor race, and she was a smart stakes winner in her lone try over the Churchill surface as well. I am delighted to see the Kentucky-bred kept in training for another season.
Race 9 -- Eight Belles S. (G2)
It might be a reach to tab #9 Li’l Tootsie to upset this fantastic field of three-year-old fillies, but I do think that the Amoss pupil will run a big one at a price. Tapiture sophomore has a fine turn of foot and wisely cuts back to one turn, where I feel that she is at her best. Prat gets the call aboard the live longshot.
Race 13 -- Maiden Special Weight
A well-matched field of quality fillies will vie in the finale. I like a pair of contenders in the cast, led by #5 Christmas Poem. Ian Wilkes trainee was alert early before tiring in the lane at Keeneland on debut, and this outfit is much better with horses who have had a start or two under their belts. Second timer looms large under Landeros.
#12 Smith’s Point is hung outside but could be any kind for Chad Brown. Bernardini sophomore might be better with more ground going forward, but her works have been solid, and Castellano riding is a major positive. Dark bay is kin to a trio of graded winners, including a full-sister to Lewis Bay, who bagged the 2016 Gazelle S. (G2) among her five graded triumphs.