Bellafina Favored In Longines Kentucky Oaks
California Shipper To Square Off Against Champion Jaywalk Again, New Shooters On The Rise
By Margaret Ransom
Kaleem Shah’s multiple grade 1 winner Bellafina was named the 2-1 morning-line favorite for Friday’s 145th running of the $1.25 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI) at Churchill Downs. The $800,000 daughter of Quality Road who drew post position four, will face 13 other fillies in the nine-furlong main track test under the Twin Spires.
Bellafina is undefeated in her three starts of 2019 (Santa Ynez Stakes [GII], Las Virgenes Stakes [GII] and Santa Anita Oaks [GI]), her only off-the-board finish coming as the favorite in the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI) held at Churchill Downs. Aside from her maiden score in her debut at Los Alamitos last Fourth of July, Bellafina also won the Del Mar Debutante (GI) and Chandelier Stakes (GI). Regular jockey Flavien Prat will ride for trainer Simon Callaghan.
Six Column Stables and Randy Bloch’s Champagne Anyone is co-third choice at 6-1 off her half-length victory in the Gulfstream Park Oaks (GII) last time out. The $70,000 daughter of Street Sense also placed in the Davona Dale Stakes (GIII) and Forward Gal Stakes (GIII) over the winter and owns three wins and three thirds from seven career starts. Ian Wilkes traines Champagne Anyone, who will carry regular jockey Chris Landeros from post position 10.
Fern Circle Stables and Three Chimneys Farm’s Restless Rider drew post position 14 in what will be her attempt to recover from second-itis (three in a row, including the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies [GI] and Ashland Stakes [GI] in her 2019 debut) under regular jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. Kenny Mcpeek trains the $150,000 daughter of Distorted Humor, who is the co-third choice at 6-1.
Peter Brant’s Dunbar Road is the second choice on the morning line at 5-1 but also is first on the also-eligibles list and would need one defection to draw into the main body of the race. Trained by Chad Brown, Dunbar Road is a $350,000 daughter of Quality Road who broke her maiden in her debut at Gulfstream Park in March by 8 ¾ lengths and then was second with some trouble to Champagne Anyone in the Gulfstream Park Oaks. If she gets in, Jose Ortiz will ride.
D.J. Stable and Cash is King’s Jaywalk, the champion juvenile filly of 2018, has struggled this year, finishing fourth and third in two starts, the Davona Dale Stakes (GII) at Gulfstream Park and Ashland Stakes (GI) at Keeneland in her last, respectively. The gray daughter of Cross Traffic won four of five starts as a juvenile, including the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI), and is trained by John Servis. Javier Castellano keeps the faith in the slightly built gray and the two drew post position seven, the same number as the last time she raced under the Twin Spires, and were given morning line odds of 8-1.
Servis and Castellano teamed to win the 2016 Oaks with Cathryn Sophia, and Servis is one of only 26 trainers to win the Kentucky Derby and the Oaks, and is the only conditioner to win those races with only one starter.
Commonwealth Stable’s Out for a Spin 15-1 on the morning line off two straight wins, including the Ashland Stakes (GI) last out. The daughter of Hard Spun is trained by Dallas Stewart, who won the Oaks in 2006 with Lemons Forever, and will be ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr. from the innermost post position.
Motion Emotion is 15-1 on the morning line and will break from post position eight under Hall of Fame and Triple Crown-winning jockey Mike Smith, who has won the Oaks twice — 2013 with Princess of Sylmar and 2017 with Abel Tasman. Motion Emotion is a daughter of Take Charge Indy, who is trained by Tom Van Berg, and who will break from post position eight.
Hall of Famer Baffert, who has won the Kentucky Oaks three times with Plum Pretty in 2011, Silverbulletday in 1999 and Abel Tasman two years ago, tightens the girth on Flor de La Mar this year. The daughter of Tiznow, who was second to the favorite in the Santa Anita Oaks (GI) in what was her stakes debut, will break from post position five under Joel Rosario and is 20-1 on the morning line.
Larry Jones, who won the Kentucky Oaks with Proud Spell in 2008, Believe You Can in 2012 and Lovely Maria in 2015, sends out his own Street Band, who he co-bred and co-owns in partnership with Cindy Jones and Ray Francis. Sophie Doyle will again ride the daughter of Istan, who won the Fair Grounds Oaks (GII) last time, and the two ladies will break from post position 12 together. They were given morning line odds of 15-1.
Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, who saddled Summerly to win the Oaks in 2005 and Untapable in 2014, will tighten the girth on Phoenix Thoroughbreds and KatieRich Stables’ Lady Apple, who is a 20-1 morning line outsider. Ricardo Santana Jr. will ride and she is set to break from post position three.
The Kentucky Oaks will go as the 11th race with a 6:12 p.m. ET post time on the 13-race card.
The complete field for the Longines Kentucky Oaks, with riders and morning-line odds from the rail out, is: Out for a Spin (Irad Ortiz Jr., 15-1), Chocolate Kisses (Julien Leparoux, 20-1), Lady Apple (Ricardo Santana Jr., 20-1), Bellafina (Flavien Prat, 2-1), Flor de La Mar (Joel Rosario, 20-1), Positive Spirit (Manny Franco, 20-1), Jaywalk (Javier Castellano, 8-1), Motion Emotion (Mike Smith, 15-1), Liora (Channing Hill, 20-1), Champagne Anyone (Chris Landeros, 6-1), Jeltrin (Luis Saez, 15-1), Street Band (Sophie Doyle, 15-1), Serengeti Empress (Jose Ortiz, 8-1), Restless Rider (Brian Hernandez Jr., 6-1). The also-Eligibles are Dunbar Road (Jose Ortiz, 5-1) and Point of Honor(John Velazquez, 30-1). All starters will carry 121 pounds.