Pros And Cons For Every Kentucky Oaks Filly
Fourteen Vie For The Blanket Of Lillies
By Margaret Ransom
A highly competitive field of 14 sophomore fillies is expected to head postward in Friday’s $1 million Kentucky Oaks (G1), including eight graded stakes winners and six others who finished right behind them in various prep races held so far this year. This year’s group of girls comes from all points across the country, and one will make her American debut after a nice career so far in the middle of the Arabian desert.
The Friday weather in Louisville is expected to be wet, with morning rains giving way to mostly cloudy skies and the likelihood of some afternoon thunderstorms. The high is expected to reach the lower 80s with high humidity, so expect a wet track and a Churchill Downs facility full of happy fans regardless.
Over the course of history, the Oaks has been run at several distances — from 1 1/16 miles to 1 1/2 miles — but has been contested at the current nine furlongs since 1982. Since it was first run in 1875, some amazing ladies have worn the blanket of Oaks lilies after a victory, a virtual “Who’s Who” list of female legends of the turf, including Modesty, Princess Doreen, Black Maria, Easter Stockings, Alcibiades, Wistful, Real Delight, Cicada, Blue Norther, Dark Mirage, Susan’s Girl, Bold ’n Determined, Princess Rooney, Fran’s Valentine Open Mind, Lite Light, Silverbulleday, Bird Town, Ashado, Rags to Riches, Blind Luck and, perhaps most notably, 2009’s Horse of the Year, Rachel Alexandra.