Top Ten 2015 Kentucky Oaks Contenders: Casey’s Picks
Top Ten 2015 Kentucky Oaks Contenders: Casey’s Picks– The Kentucky Oaks is the premier event for three-year-old fillies and is the likely springtime goal for all fillies who excel on the dirt. The Kentucky Oaks turns 141 years old this year and will be run on Friday, May 1, over the Kentucky’s historic Louisville racetrack, Churchill Downs. The classic race is contested at 1-1/8 miles over the main track, and fillies must earn enough points to make the fourteen-horse field by running in prep races worth a set amount of points.
This year, the fillies seem tougher to choose amongst than the colts and geldings looking to win the Kentucky Derby the following day. Here are my top ten fillies, plus one for a little luck.
Birdatthewire – 130 points – (Summer Bird – My Limit, by Wagon Limit) This filly has been on my list for some time now, and I knew that when she got a chance to run farther than a mile, she would prove why she is so special. She has closed on fast and slow paces, on slow and fast tracks, and against weak and stiff competition. Her pedigree is geared towards further distances over nine furlongs which means she could eventually benefit from races against the boys, a possibility her trainer has even voiced interest in. She has a good amount of time to put on some weight and be fully cranked for a huge effort in the Oaks.
Stellar Wind – 150 points – (Curlin – Evening Star, by Malibu Moon) We all already know that Curlin is a sire of astronomical success, and this filly is looking to help her sire out by winning him another classic race. Stellar Wind has a pedigree geared perfectly towards two turns at the classic distances and possibly even for races that require her to travel ten furlongs. Whether or not this filly can win the Kentucky Oaks after her final prep in the Santa Anita Oaks remains to be seen, but she certainly has the foundation to be a big threat.
I’m a Chatterbox – 161 points – (Munnings – Chit Chatter, by Lost Soldier) This filly has shown more than one element of her adaptability. She has taken one stakes race wire-to-wire while in another she sat off the pace and made a final run to once again deny any challenge she may have received. This filly is versatile and seems to be outrunning her pedigree. I’m a Chatterbox could possibly help Munnings rocket to the top of many lists as a stallion. While her sire was a sprinter, I’m a Chatterbox has also been gifted with an appropriate distaff side for the nine-furlong distance as her damsire won a stakes at nine furlongs on the dirt and a Grade III event on the turf. She should be a force to reckon with on Oaks day.
Condo Commando – 161 points – (Tiz Wonderful – Yearly Report, by General Meetings) This filly is possibly the best filly in her age group, so why do I have her in third? I put her here because I believe the competition she has faced in New York is highly questionable on talent. We know this filly is good and fast, but how do we know for sure if she just continues to waltz all over lesser horses? I am sure she will have a spot in the Oaks field, but while I am not completely sold on her, it would be insane to leave her off this list.
Angela Renee – 57 points – (Bernardini – Pilfer, by Deputy Minister) This filly has been another inconsistent type. She ran a huge race in the 2014 Chandelier Stakes before proving to be less than a threat in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. She did come back to run third in the Grade II Demoiselle against Condo Commando but then again failed to hit the board in the Grade III Rachel Alexandra against I’m A Chatterbox. This filly is a full sibling to To Honor and Serve which means she is likely to mature as she ages, both physically and mentally. Most recently, she finished a solid second in the Grade I Ashland Stakes before aiming for a start in the Kentucky Oaks. She has the pedigree to win, but I question if she is going to show up and be the filly she was in the Chandelier.
Sarah Sis – 54 points – (Sharp Humor – Emerald Gal, by Gilded Time) This filly almost ended a winning streak for 2014 Champion Two-Year-Old Filly Take Charge Brandi in the one-mile Martha Washington. However, when Take Charge Brandi skipped the Honeybee Stakes for the Rebel Stakes, only to be scratched due to health reasons, Sarah Sis came home an easy winner in the Honeybee. This filly has a nice pedigree for the Oaks distance and could easily give other fillies a run for their money. Her distaff side is littered with group/graded stakes winners and runner-ups.
Puca – 45 points – (Big Brown – Boat’s Ghost, by Silver Ghost) This filly was no match for Condo Commando, but so far, no one has been. Condo Commando really has been dominating in New York while the rest battle it out the old fashioned way in Florida, Arkansas, and California. Puca was a clear second in the Gazelle and has earned enough points to justify a start in the 2015 Kentucky Oaks in a month. The filly is trained by Bill Mott, an experienced trainer who is no stranger to getting horses ready for big races.
Lovely Maria – 120 points – (Majestic Warrior – Thundercup, by Thunder Gulch) This filly defeated multiple favorites, such as Angela Renee and Peace and War, on her way to earning her first stakes win in the Grade I Ashland Stakes at Keeneland. She outran Angela Renee, who was a strong second, and provided Larry Jones and owner Brereton Jones with a trip back to the Oaks, the site that gave them their last Oaks winner Believe You Can. With a pedigree that should carry her the 1-1/8 miles of the Oaks, this filly may be hitting her best stride.
Luminance – 40 points – (Tale of the Cat – Siren Serenade, by Unbridled’s Song) This filly finished second to a strong Stellar Wind in the Santa Anita Oaks for a final prep before the Kentucky Oaks. She likely has enough points, and knowing Baffert, he’ll send her out in the red, white, and blue silks of Kaleem Shah. This filly has a borderline routing pedigree, but with Baffert, he should be able to stretch her out enough to make her Oaks ready.
Oceanwave – 60 points – (Harlan’s Holiday – Tamboz, by Tapit) While Tapit is still too young for the racing world to get a handle on how he will advance as a broodmare sire, this filly has the pedigree and family to be highly successful in her career. After a runner-up finish in the Honeybee to Sarah Sis, this filly finished a strong second the Grade III Fantasy Stakes before a possible start in the Kentucky Oaks. With a pedigree that includes a mare like Carols Christmas, from whom horses such as Olympio, Pyro, Paddy O’Prado, and Untapable, are descended, this filly should be a star in the making.
Just for Luck…
Maybellene – 52 points – (Lookin at Lucky – Greathearted, by Giant’s Causeway) This filly is likely only in the Kentucky Oaks field thanks to the disqualification of Callback in the Sunland Park Oaks. She ran a couple of huge efforts last year against the likes of Take Charge Brandi, but she hasn’t been running her best this year. However, she has the pedigree to improve and be a contender. She is low on the list due to her inconsistency, but she has a lot of potential.