2017 Kentucky Oaks Betting Odds & Free Picks

 

Last Updated: 2017-05-03

kentucky oaks 2017 oddsBefore the Run for the Roses, we’ve got the Run for the Lillies for the Fillies. The Kentucky Oaks is Friday night’s main event during a huge racing weekend at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. This race is for female horses only and is a Grade I stakes race that has been run every year since 1875. Some extremely well-known Triple Crown horses have won this race, including Rachel Alexandra in 2009 and Rags to Riches in 2007.

The favorite in the lead-up to last year’s Kentucky Oaks was Songbird, who was scratched with an injury. Hopefully we don’t run into a similar situation this year, but it should be a pretty strong field for this year’s event. Post positions were drawn on Tuesday, so we have a better idea of how the fillies will line up and odds have been set.

Here are the odds for the 2017 Kentucky Oaks, which will be run on Friday evening.

Post Horse Odds Jockey Trainer
1 Ever So Clever 20/1 L. Contreras S. Asmussen
2 Lockdown 20/1 J. Ortiz B. Mott
3 Mopotism 20/1 M. Gutierrez D. O’Neill
4 Paradise Woods 5/2 F. Prat R. Mandella
5 Jordan’s Henny 30/1 J. Rocco Jr. M. Tomlinson
6 Vexatious 20/1 K. Desormeaux N. Drysdale
7 Farrell 5/1 C. Hill W. Catalano
8 Sailor’s Valentine 30/1 C. Lanerie E. Kenneally
9 Wicked Lick 30/1 B. Hernandez Jr. B. Walsh
10 Miss Sky Warrior 9/2 P. Lopez K. Breen
11 Tequilita 20/1 L. Saez M. Matz
12 Daddys Lil Darling 20/1 J. Leparoux K. McPeek
13 Abel Tasman 5/1 M. Smith B. Baffert
14 Salty 6/1 J. Rosario M. Casse
Alt Summer Luck 30/1 J. Castellano M. Casse

Alt will run in case of a scratch

It looks like a strong field and the favorites all got varying post positions. Paradise Woods has a great track inside to the rail from the fourth post. Farrell, thought to be one of the stronger horses in the field, can find a way up to the front from the middle of the pack. Abel Tasman and Salty will start on the outside, so they can avoid danger at the start of the race and get a push from the outside in. It’s about as good of a draw as race officials and fans could have hoped for, since none of the favorites should get bottled up and they’re not going to bump each other off.

It’s kind of amazing to think that Javier Castellano, who won last year atop Cathryn Sophia, may not have a change to defend his title. Summer Luck will only make it into the field in the event of a scratch. Furthermore, John Servis and J. Larry Jones, the trainers of Cathryn Sophia and Lovely Maria, do not have a filly in the field after being having the last two winners. The most recent winner among trainers in the race is Steve Asmussen, who has a brilliant track record of training fillies to win on big stages. Asmussen and jockey Rosie Napravnik won with Untapable in 2014.

Let’s handicap the field a little bit, starting with the favorites.

Paradise Woods was the 5/2 Morning Line favorite after the post draw. Paradise Woods certainly has the bloodline that people are looking for, as the filly is the offspring of Union Rags, who was the winner at the 2012 Belmont Stakes and also finished second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile the prior year. Paradise Woods was victorious in her last final test, the Santa Anita Oaks, by blowing the field away. Richard Mandella hasn’t gotten a winner in this race, but the 67-year-old trainer has had three winners in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, and a few other Breeders’ Cup triumphs. Mandella has never had a winner in the Kentucky Oaks, Black-Eyed Susan Stakes, or the Acorn Stakes, which are the filly complements to the Triple Crown.

Miss Sky Warrior should be a very popular pick at 9/2 this week. She has rattled off five wins in a run in Grade 2 or Grade 3 races, but has won at both Aqueduct and Gulfstream Park, which shows a little bit of impressive versatility. Most filly races are 1 1/16 miles, but the Gazelle Stakes, which Miss Sky Warrior won over Lockdown, is a 1 1/8 race, just like the Kentucky Oaks. She won that race by 13 lengths, so it was a blowout performance on a long track and that should be enticing.

Abel Tasman shares the third favorite spot with Farrell. There’s a lot to like about Abel Tasman, who was second to Paradise Woods at the Santa Anita and second to Unique Bella at Santa Ysabel. She won the Starlet Stakes, with Mopotism in third, back in December. This is a Bob Baffert-trained horse. Baffert has two career winners in the Kentucky Oaks, with Plum Pretty in 2011 and Silverbulletday in 1999. The concern here for Abel Tasman is that going from the outside to the inside takes a little bit of effort and this race is already much longer than fillies would like to run.

That problem is the same for Salty at 6/1. Salty won the Gulfstream Oaks, with Tequilita and Jordan’s Henny coming place and show, but that was a Grade 2 race. Salty doesn’t have an extensive list of runs, with all three races coming this year. It seems like this three-year-old filly may be a little bit overpriced. But, it’s hard to bet against Mark Casse, who has a long resume of success, including wins at the Breeders’ Cup Mile, Juvenile Fillies, and Juvenile. He also had a winner in the Futurity Stakes last year.

Back to Farrell, who is also at 5/1, Wayne Catalano’s filly led the points standings in the Road to the Kentucky Oaks with wins in the Rachel Alexandra Stakes, the Silverbulletday, and the Golden Rod Stakes. The big thing about Farrell is that the filly has extensive experience at Churchill Downs and that means a lot to some people. It means that the horse has a good feel for the track and that Channing Hill knows the right buttons to push and when to push them.

At 20/1, Daddys Lil Darling will be the favorite among the longer shots. It doesn’t hurt to have Julien Leparoux. The Frenchman has had a lot of impressive wins in his career, including last year’s Acorn Stakes on Carina Mia. Leparoux is in a good position on Saturday as well atop Classic Empire. Some really disappointing performances on to the Road to the Kentucky Oaks have skewed the prices a little. A second at Keeneland in the Grade 1 Ashland Stakes was a decent showing, but Sailor’s Valentine is 30/1 in this race and won that one. A sixth in Tampa at the Florida Oaks was a really disappointing finish. We’ll have to see if Daddys Lil Darling, who finished second to Farrell at the Golden Rod Stakes right here at Churchill Downs last November can get it all together. Putting Daddys Lil Darling in some box trifectas with a couple of the favorites seems like a decent play.

It’s amazing how much things can change in horse racing. Last year’s win-place-show at the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies were Champagne Room, Valadorna, and American Gal. None of them are running in the Kentucky Oaks. Daddys Lil Darling finished fourth in that race as a 12/1 shot. Champagne Room won as a 20/1. Noted and Quoted finished seventh as the favorite. Daddys Lil Darling is the only horse from that Breeders’ Cup race to be entered in this field.

Paradise Woods really stands out in the numbers and the metrics, especially Brisnet and Beyer, so she’s a clear favorite. Had Abel Tasman and Salty gotten draws closer to the middle of the pack, we could have seen some different odds for them. Farrell’s familiarity with the track definitely stands out as an advantage. Some sort of box trifecta with the three favorites has a good chance to come in and you can throw Daddys Lil Darling into the mix with some of those or as a long shot to win.

 

 

-END OF 2017 PREVIEW-

 

Before the Run for the Roses, some little filly will probably break your heart in the Kentucky Oaks. One of the three-year-old female horses will be able to claim the $600,000 first prize and the garland of lilies that goes along with the Friday night race at Churchill Downs. With a full day of racing on tap for Saturday, culminating with the Kentucky Derby, this race doesn’t necessarily get the notoriety that it deserves, but it is a great opening act for horse racing fans and handicappers.

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Since 1982, this has been a 1 1/8-mile race. Rachel Alexandra, a name that should resonate with horse racing fans, holds the biggest margin of victory in this event at over 20 lengths. Rachel Alexandra went on to win the 2009 Preakness Stakes. Many familiar trainers have taken down the win in this Grade I filly event. Last year’s winner, Lovely Maria, had the highest-winning time since 2010, but it was still a victory for jockey Kerwin Clark and trainer J. Larry Jones.

The top filly in this class, Songbird, has been sidelined with a fever, so this field is considered to be very wide open, even though some horses obviously have better odds of winning than others.

Let’s take a look at the odds for this year’s Kentucky Oaks and handicap some of the top challengers:

 

Post Horse Jockey Trainer Odds
1 Terra Promessa Santana Jr. Asmussen 10/1
2 Weep No More Lanerie Arnold 9/2
3 Lewis Bay Ortiz Jr. Brown 8/1
4 Go Maggie Go Saez Romans 12/1
5 Dream Dance Hernandez Jr. Howard 30/1
6 Mokat Prat Baltas 20/1
7 Mo d’Amour Rosario Pletcher 30/1
8 Royal Obsession Geroux Asmussen 20/1
9 Paola Queen Jaramillo Delgado 30/1
10 Venus Valentine Bridgmohan Amoss 30/1
11 Rachel’s Valentina Velazquez Pletcher 7/2
12 Cathryn Sophia Castellano Servis 9/2
13 Land Over Sea Gutierrez O’Neill 5/1
14 Taxable Smith Asmussen 20/1

Steve Asmussen has three horses in this race and it’s surprising that none of them are among the favorites. Asmussen was the trainer of Rachel Alexandra during her Preakness Stakes win and his horse, Untapabale, won in 2014. He also picked up a winner with Summerly in 2005. Terra Promessa got a really unfavorable draw in the #1 post, but Asmussen’s top contender was the points leader during the Road to the Kentucky Oaks circuit. She is part of the Curlin bloodline.

Asmussen seems keen on the chances of Royal Obsession, a long shot at 20/1 that got a really favorable draw. She does have two wins in four starts and comes from the bloodline of Tapit. He was happy to get eighth and she tends to be in the mix. With that draw, a couple things go Royal Obsession’s way and she could cash a big ticket for handicappers.

Asmussen’s other horse, Taxable, had a big win last year at Churchill Downs, but that outside draw may be a little bit difficult. She is one of the least-experienced horses in the race, so coming from outside could prove to be a bit of a challenge. On the other hand, the horse with the Valentine’s Day birthday may be able to piggyback off of Land Over Sea’s push to the inside.

Familiar name Todd Pletcher has a couple of horses in this race, including the favorite, Rachel’s Valentina. Pletcher is a three-time winner of the Kentucky Oaks. Princess of Sylmar won in 2013, with Rags to Riches in 2007, and Ashado in 2004. Rags to Riches, if you’ll recall, was the first filly in over 100 years to win the 2007 Belmont Stakes. Rachel’s Valentina is part of the Rachel Alexandra bloodline and we know how much success she had.

Lewis Bay had quite a bit of success, racking up 129 points during the Road to the Kentucky Oaks. She was also given very high speed ratings from Brisnet and would seem to be a very strong challenger here in this one. Chad Brown has drawn some rave reviews for her recent performances and she’ll be a horse to watch on Friday as money continues to pour in on this year’s event.

Another strong performer on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks was Land Over Sea. The Doug O’Neill trained filly has a couple of wins and four places to her name over eight starts. She was the best of the rest because Songbird, who is not in the Kentucky Oaks, won five of the eight starts for Land Over Sea.

Weep No More could have done a little bit better with the post draw, but she is viewed as a serious contender. She has three wins out of four races and came on the scene after a big 30/1 win in the Ashland Stakes at Keeneland. It has been a little bit of a tumultuous road to this race, as she was quarantined for three weeks in March. Weep No More is viewed as a slow starter that finishes strong, so don’t tear up your tickets if you give her a try.

NBC Sports Network will have coverage of this race coming up on Friday night at 5:49 p.m. ET.

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