What a delightful Friday morning, both here in Dallas as well as in sunny Louisville. The ladies own the day as Friday is known as "Louisville's Day at the Downs" where many locals will visit the race track today, but avoid the madness that is Derby Day. The sad part of Derby weekend is that many top stakes races get overlooked, but from a betting perspective I can't blame people for focusing on the massive payouts of the larger Derby and Oaks fields.
This year's Oaks edition seems to be a little more wide open than The Derby with regards to betting favoritism. Stellar Wind from the west coast is slightly favored at 7/2 over east coast heroine Condo Commando (kick-ass name!) 9/2 and Gulfstream Park (Florida) Oaks winner Birdatthewire 4/1. I like Victor Espinoza's chances to pull off the rare Oaks-Derby double with the stout daughter of Curlin - Stellar Wind. I will also include two time Oaks winning owner Brereton Jones' Lovely Maria in my tickets as she seems to be improving at the right time when taking the Ashland Stakes. We all know Larry Jones has a special touch with his fillies. #10 Oceanwave (Harlan's Holiday) should be running well late after a couple of rough trips at Oaklawn (fanned 6 wide while just missing in the Fantasy Stakes) and could hit the board at a juicy 13-1. One of my stable's fillies faced Oceanwave in her first Oaklawn start where she weaved through the stretch (avoiding our Cherries backing up in the drive!) and I knew that day this well bred filly could be something special.
I'm also close to rounding out my trifecta and superfecta Kentucky Derby tickets and the only way to play an affordable ticket is to leave out some good horses, for me that appears to be Materiality, Mubtaahij and Frosted. I'll have to keep chewing on this for a while before I'm able to pull the trigger. Hope your mint julep syrup is coming together nicely - be sure to secure that mint today before the stores run out! Best of luck to all today, especially hoping these fillies run their best and come back safe.