Thursday, May 3, 2012

Who's on First ? or (Who has beaten Who going into Kentucky Oaks 2012?)

In the Kentucky Derby, 9 of the 20 entrants faced off in the Breeder's Cup Juvenile last fall. In the Kentucky Oaks on Friday, only one filly , Grace Hall ran in this race. She finished 2nd to the 2 yo Champion Filly, My Miss Aurelia. Hard Not To Like ran in the Breeder's Cup Juvenile Filly Turf and was beaten 3 lengths. Grace Hall is one of the Morning Line choices while Hard Not To Like is 20-1, even though she is coming off a 2nd in the G1 Ashland Stakes at Keeneland in her only 3 yo start. If her odds are higher at post, she is definitely worth a play, even with the knocks of trying dirt for the 1st time and only 2nd start of the year against her.

The rest of the field presents an interesting puzzle as there are a number of very talented fillies coming off very good races. Who has beaten who creates a mixed picture for the Oaks.

Grace Hall - has beaten Yara but lost by a neck to Yara in her first start of 2012. Her last victory was in the GP Oaks where won well at the Oaks distance of 9 furlongs.. She also beat And Why Not as a 2 yo in the Spinaway at 7 furlongs at Saratoga.

Broadway Alibi - lost her first career race but is undefeated since. She won the Forward Gal at 7 Furlongs by 17 lengths with Sacristy 3rd. In her last race she won the Gamely at a mile as a prep for this. She has the pedigree to stretch out.

Eden's Moon - has not beaten any major contenders but acquitted herself well in her limited experience. She is trained by Baffert and is a big strong filly who is still developing

Hard Not To Like - is very accomplished on the turf and is trying a dirt surface for the 1st time. She ran 2nd on the poly at KEE to Karlovy Vary in the G1 Ashland in her only 3 yo start. She ran well in the BC Juvenile Filly Turf beaten only 3 lengths.

Sacristy - was 3rd by 19 lengths to Broadway Alibi but is stretching out with a nice distance pedigree.

On Fire Baby - beat Amie's Dini and Colonial Empress in the Honeybee at Oaklawn last out.Last year she beat And Why Not in the Pocahantis at a mile at Churchill. 

Believe You Can - defeated Summer Applause twice at Fairgrounds but also lost by 7 to Summer Applause 2nd back.Last year, she was beaten by On Fire Baby, And Why Not at Churchill at a mile.

Summer Applause - has been 2nd twice to Believe You Can but turned the table and beat that one in her 2nd last race.

Karlovy Vary - is a much improved filly that won her last race at KEE, the G1 Ashland Stakes defeating Hard Not To Like by 3/4 length.At Churchill last fall, she was beaten 12 lengths by OnFireBaby.

Yara - Upset Grace Hall when Grace was making her first start this year. She then lost to Grace Hall at 9 furlongs in the GP Oaks. She also lost to Broadway Alibi and Sacristy on a sloppy track.

Amie's Dini - beat Jemima's Pearl 1/2 length in the Fantasy. She was 2nd by 2 lengths to OnFireBaby in the Honeybee and beat Colonial Empress by many in that same race.

Jemima's Pearl - won her first North American start on dirt at Santa Anita and then ran 1/2 length behing Amie's Dini in a G2 Stakes at Oaklawn. She was transferred to trainer Baffert before that race.

Colonial Empress - no comments to offer but I would be very surprised to see this maiden in the top 5 finishers in the Oaks.

This race sets up very nicely for Grace Hall. She has a strong late pace profile that means that she can conserve herself early and come on in the stretch. She has already won at the 9 furlong Oaks distance on dirt. Many of the other contenders are speed oriented and may fade in the stretch. I suspect that Broadway Alibi will be on the lead in the stretch with Grace Hall running her down. Hard Not To Like should be running on end and is a strong long shot play at 20-1 morning line odds.

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