The marquee weekend for horse racing. Starts the Triple Crown, the race that everyone knows is tomorrow. But, today. Today is the day for Louisville. Today is Kentucky Oaks Day and honestly it's a hell of a race card. So for major races like this weekend, the Triple Crown, Breeders Cup, etc. I plan on putting together a little preview and betting card for everyone.
There's a lot to dive into and I'm willing to change it up for tomorrow. Let me know how you prefer these blogs. I'll talk about the race set up, go through each horse in different categories and put out my bets. Again, I'm all ears as I try to have a little fun with horse racing on the blog.
Come on y'all we know all about Churchill. The historic Twinspires, the name, everything. But the race itself? We're talking a mile and an eighth on the dirt track. The distance was moved in 1982 from a mile and sixteenth. Shedaresthedevil set the record, running the race in 1:48.28 in 2020. Just a monster run.
What's with the pink?
If you watch Oaks you're going to see pink everywhere. Why? It's become tradition as a sign to help bring awareness to fight against breast and ovarian cancer since the Oaks is run by female horses. Awesome tradition and gotta admit pink is a fire color. I'll slap on a pink shirt any day of the week. But it's actually a question I get asked a decent amount by people not from the area so there you go.
Of course it's likely going to rain. It's the first weekend in May. It always rains in Louisville on one of these days. You know what that means:
Thanks to Hollywood Races (download it here) this is what we have as of 9:59am:
Longshots to throw away
These are the horses I'm throwing out right away. You have to do that when building pick-5s, pick-4s, exactas, tris, whatever you like to play. You gotta draw a line somewhere in the race. Right off the bat, I don't trust any of these horses:
5. Goddess of Fire
12. Candy Reid
There are various reasons I don't like these horses. For some it's added distance. For others it's lack of winning or experience in graded stakes. But those 4 horses I'm throwing out right away, moving the field to 9 for me to start building from.
I'm taking anything 15/1 and higher as a longshot. We saw Shedaresthedevil come in last year at 15/1 so despite this field having a ton of short prices, we can see a price come in on the money. These are important to look at when building those tris and exactas. If you can get a 15/1 finishing second that price is going up and more money in your pocket.
3. Hidden Connection
8. Venti Valentine
9. Desert Dawn
11. Cocktail Moments
We have a ton of live longshots here. It's tough for me to throw out a horse like Shahama mostly because I think Flavian Prat is the best rider in the country. You also have to play someone like a Desert Dawn who beat one-time Oaks favorite over at Santa Anita. Venti Valentine is interesting because you have Gaffalione who might be the hottest rider right now. You also have 5 starts and 5 top-2 finishes. Now it's clearly an upgrade in class but the record is there. Then there's Cocktail Moments. She has a win at Churchill where she broke her maiden. Also a daughter of Uncle Mo. Love that pedigree. A ton of live longshots like I said though.
1. Secret Oath
7. Echo Zulu
10. Kathleen O.
I gotta be honest. I want to cut one of these horses when I'm building my bets and I think it might be Kathleen O. She hasn't races anyone like we see here in the Oaks. She has a win over Goddess of Fire, but that's really it. Now, she does have Shug as her trainer and a win in the mud so it's tough. But you do have to sort of cut someone. Secret Oath is going to be a play I have a lot. Saez on the mount, coming off a 3rd place at the Arkansas Derby. There's a lot to like about Secret Oath. If she stays at 6-1 that might be my favorite play. Echo Zulu is a favorite with Rosario on the mount. She had a damn good 2-year old run but now we're seeing a little bit of a step back.
Okay, let's talk about Nest. Irad and Pletcher. 4 wins and a third in 5 starts. The daughter of Curlin wants to press the pace. This is going to be the key in the race. If Nest can jump in front of Kathleen O and Secret Oath, you might deal with a little bit of traffic and Irad can cruise.
Kentucky Oaks - Here's how I'm going to play the Oaks.
Win Bet - 1. Secret Oath
Exacta Bet - 1,4,9/1,4,7-9,11
Gonna play the exacta a little different here. I do think 1 or 4 come in and going to leave out Kathleen O. It's a $15 play for a $1 but I'm giving myself some pricing here with the 8,9 and 11. If one of those come in we're looking good.
Trifecta Bet -
Again, this is how I'm going to try and get some pricing in. Targeting 1,4,9
I tend to stick to pick-4s and try to play them cheap looking for a single and then pricing. We hit a big one for Preakenss last year, so let's keep it rolling.
I'll likely adjust based on weather and as the day goes on. But there you have it. 1,000 words on today's races. A little bit of everything and if there are changes I'll update the blog. But this is what I have built right now. I tend to not punch until right before the races so I can see where the money is going and making sure I don't miss anything. Follow me on Twitter @barstoolreags and let's talk about the races today. Send me your picks, your favorites, what you hate about what I said, whatever. Horse racing is supposed to be fun.