The Kentucky Oaks future wager pool closed on Sunday evening with a surprising favorite. Instead of the much-heralded (and rightly so) Rachel Alexandra (3-1) and Stardom Bound (9-2), it was G2 Davona Dale victress Justwhistledixie (5-2) who came out on top—interesting considering she’s never run farther than 8f (and that distance only once) and her competition has been primarily sprinters who she outlasted. The only possible reason I can attribute to her topping Rachel Alexandra and Stardom Bound is the West Point Thoroughbred partners dumping money on her, which is great for the rest of us who got a price on real contenders. I took my own advice and placed $2 win bets on Sky Diva (36-1) and What a Pear (22-1); even though Godolphin’s Devotee (73-1) featured long odds, I just can’t get past the idea of prepping in Dubai, not here. It didn’t work for Folk in 2007.
The Oaks pool closed minutes before the G3 Honeybee was completed so, even though the time was rather pedestrian, folks got a bargain on winner Just Jenda (54-1). Her performance didn’t surprise me—Larry Jones is phenomenal with talented 3-year-olds, especially at Oaklawn and Fair Grounds—but I was very pleased my wildcard pick Afleet Deceit closed from last place to get up for second. My interest in her is obvious—her second dam is Too Cool To Fool (Foolish Pleasure).
Afleet Deceit is owned by Bill Stiritz, former chairman of Ralston Purina Company and current owner of Fairmount Park near St. Louis, who also owns recent John Battaglia Memorial winner Proceed Bee. Both were purchased at the 2007 Keeneland Yearlings sale. A son of Bernstein out of the Private Terms mare Procession, a half-sister to G1-winning steeplechaser Sovereign Duty and three-quarter sister to G3 Widener victor Party Manners, Proceed Bee was a $40k purchase (Hip #1561). A daughter of Northern Afleet out of the Danzig mare Deceit, it didn’t take much imagination to name Afleet Deceit, who cost only $17k (Hip #4137). Both are trained by Terry Gestes who also trains Stiritz’s G3-winnning filly Palanka City.
While this weekend’s listed Rushaway Stakes at Turfway had been mentioned as the next target for Proceed Bee, his name was not among its nominees; instead, his connections have opted for the bigger prize, the G2 Lane’s End. Others of interest likely for the Lane’s End include West Side Bernie, Bittel Road, Loch Dubh and A.P. Cardinal. Final post positions will be drawn on Wednesday, and the race will be broadcast from 5-6 p.m. on ESPN2.