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Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Kentucky Oaks

Dreaming of Anna

The post position draw occurred today for Friday’s Kentucky Oaks, and I must say, what a talented group of fillies! By all accounts, Dreaming of Anna may have gotten the best draw (7), and she certainly appears to be training well, putting up a bullet :58.3 on Monday. Interestingly, she bulleted :47 (best of 71) six days before winning the Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies at Churchill last November when she rode that “golden rail” from post position one the entire 1-1/16 mile for the win. She may be peaking again after two months off—looking back over her short career, she does well coming off long breaks. By race time, I figure her odds will be down to 3-1, and certainly, she should be in the money at the end, so what a bargain!

Rags to Riches appeared to be a physical monster in her works this past week with diminutive Circular Quay, refusing him the lead. Yea, I think she could probably kick the ass of many boys in the Derby, but I am guessing she will be over bet on Friday, possibly going off at 2-5, leaving ample opportunity to make some good money when she does not win. Breaking from post 11 will be tough, with early speed Mistical Plan outside her in post 13, and the talented High Again way out in post 14. I don’t expect either of those two to be in the money at the end, though—both look like milers to me.

Who will be in there at the end? I would not be surprised if Rags to Riches or Cotton Blossom finished in the top four, the latter mostly due to Edgar Prado, and certainly Dreaming of Anna. While High Heels is a nice filly who ran a monster race in the G2 Fantasy on April 6, beating Cotton Blossom by nearly seven lengths, my money is on the gray beauty Octave. She was rolling at the end of the G1 Ashland on April 7, losing only by a head to Christmas Kid who passed on the Oaks to enter the Acorn (much to my chagrin, as I had an early wager on her at 50-1). She has been working beautifully, with two impressive 5-furlong works working with Cotton Blossom(:59.1 on April 28, and :58 on April 21). Frankly, the only draw back is she loses Garrett Gomez in favor of John Velazquez—yea, I know he is Pletcher’s number one jock, but I personally don’t care for his riding style. He jumps off Cotton Blossom to ride Octave so maybe there's something to be read into that fact.

My “longshot” pick to finish in the money and—dare I say it?—place: the West Coast invader Tough Tiz’s Sis, despite no graded stakes experience. She hasn’t raced since her nearly four length victory in the WinStar Oaks at Sunland on March 18, but since then she has been burning up the track at Santa Anita with consistently strong workouts (4f :46.2 on March 31, 5f 1:00.3 on April 9, 6f 1:10.3 on April 17, 6f 1:12.3 on April 23, and 6f 1:11.2 on April 29). The Bob Baffet-trained Tiznow filly is 10-1 morning line, and may drift up even more by race time.

The weather is looking good for both the Oaks and Derby, with only 30% chance of thunderstorms on Friday, and 20% on Saturday.

UPDATE: Looks like the chance of thunderstorms is now 70%...hummm. No, don't think I'll change a thing, except consider a late bet on Autobahn Girl who has run 3 times on off-tracks, winning one and placing in the two others. Not bad.

So, that’s 4-7-9-11 (boxed) for the superfecta—good luck!