#6 Broadway’s Alibi (KY) – This is an all or nothing type pick, but after studying this field I feel like Broadway’s Alibi is the only horse that has shown true greatness this year. Her race in the Forward Gal Stakes at Gulfstream was incredible, and she followed it up with another awesome performance in the Comely Stakes at Aqueduct. With that being said, I can understand why many are concerned with her getting the distance of a mile and one eighth. It is definitely a legitimate question, but the fact is we really have no idea if she can get it or not. She’s never ran past a mile in her entire career. I like that she is out of Vindication, a horse that won wire to wire at a mile and one sixteenth and a mile and one eight. Her dam side is strictly sprinting, but it has always been said that you get your distance pedigree from the sire so I’m actually fairly confident she can get the distance. Many are worried about a pace meltdown in this race, but I am not. Broadway’s Alibi is the speed of the speed. Nobody in this race can press her in my opinion, so it’s fairly simple to me…if she gets the distance, she wins this easy. If not, well I will look like a moron which wouldn’t be the first time!
#1 On Fire Baby (KY) – Even though there are a couple of things I dislike about On Fire Baby coming into the race, her performance in the Honeybee at Oaklawn, plus her dominate performances at Churchill Downs really have me thinking she’ll be the one to pick up the pieces if Broadway’s Alibi falters. However, we must discuss the negatives with her. She hasn’t raced in over six weeks, and she draws a very tough post on the rail. Where they place her will be interesting. She has decent early speed, so will they send her out of the gate, or will they hold her back and make one big run with her towards the end? Hopefully her talent level and affection for the Churchill Downs surface will overcome the negatives. With a better draw I may have picked her as my top selection, as I really believe this is the best horse in the field.
#9 Believe You Can (KY) - I have flipped-flopped back and forth on this horse for days now, and finally have put her in this category. There are a few positives that have me believing she might outperform my expectations and win this thing. Trainer Larry Jones is great with fillies, and looks to have this horse ready to go. He’s compared her to his former Kentucky Oaks winner Proud Spell all week. Another positive is her post position draw. I like that she has drawn outside the speed. She will most likely get a perfect stalking trip in this race, which I think is really important for her. In the end though, I just felt like she wasn’t quite good enough to win the whole thing. Look for her to be in the mix until the very end, and maybe just fall short.
#2 Grace Hall (KY) – She comes into this race as a well deserved favorite, but I have some question marks about her 2012 form. Her two races haven’t been all that fast, plus her drawing the two hole has me a little concerned as well. I’m not suggesting in any way that you throw this horse out, but to me this is a favorite that looks entirely beatable. Use in exotics, but not on top.
#3 Summer Applause (KY) – If you like betting consistency, this is your horse. Summer Applause has finished first or second in her last five races. She’s battled with Believe You Can three times now, and beat her once in the Rachel Alexandra Stakes. If you are betting a show parlay, this wouldn’t be too bad of a pick. She can be had at a pretty decent price, and her form suggest she’ll fire for you. Probably not good enough to win, but definitely good enough to compete.
#13 Amie’s Dini (KY) – It would surprise me if Amie’s Dini won this race, but I don’t think you’ve can leave her off any of your exotic tickets. She has competed against top class horses all year long, and had proven that she has a ton of heart. I don’t think she’s quite as good as some of these going this distance, but she’ll fight them until the very end.
#4 Eden’s Moon (FL) – Trainer Bob Baffert has two horses in this race, and both look like potential sleepers in my opinion. I’ll start with Eden’s Moon, who up until her last race was one of my top contenders for the Kentucky Oaks. She regressed a little going a mile and one sixteenth in the Santa Anita Oaks, so I have backed off a bit. Still, I think you have to consider her a sleeper. Maybe she just bounced a little in her last, and will come back ready this time out.
#8 Jemima’s Pearl (KY) – She looks to be a real wild card to me, mainly because I think the distance of this race is going to suit her pretty well. Coming into her last race I was not real high on her, but her third place effort in the Fantasy kind of caught my eye. She was beaten only two lengths, and was slowly gaining on the leaders. I think this horse has a “grind it out” type of style, and if there is a pace meltdown like some suggest, she has a decent shot at winning this thing. Logical longshot play.
#5 Hard Not to Like (ON) – Call me crazy, but I kind of have a feeling out of all my throw out picks, this horse might jump up and bite me on Friday. I can’t support her because she’s never ran on the dirt before, but I do like her past performances. I thought her race in the Ashland was solid, and she was a close fifth in the Breeders Cup Juvenile Filly Turf. Her hitting the board wouldn’t be a total shock to me.
#7 Sacristy (KY) – Just looks to be out-classed, and also it doesn’t look like the mile and one eighth distance is going to suit her much at all. Pretty easy throw out.
#10 And Why Not (KY) – This one was running fairly decent in October of last year, but obviously had some injury problems that sidelined her for a while. She returned in the Gulfstream Oaks and ran very poorly, finishing seventh. Now she steps up into the Oaks so things won’t get much easier. Easy throw out in this spot.
#11 Karlovy Vary (KY) – Even though she’s won her last two races, including the Grade 1 Ashland Stakes at Keeneland last time out, I believe she’s a throw out. This one looks to be a synthetic or turf horse. Her only start on dirt ended with a seventh place finish, where she was beaten twelve lengths by fellow Oaks runner On Fire Baby. Nice horse, but not on this surface.
#12 Colonial Empress (VA) – Colonial Empress is still a maiden so it would be an incredible upset if she were to win. She’s ran in all stakes races in her career, and in her two starts at Oaklawn she actually didn’t run too bad. Still, she’s an easy throw out in this field.
#14 Yara (FL) – In six of her seven lifetime starts she has looked as though she didn’t belong with this group, but her race in the Davona Dale was excellent. In that race she was one of the longest shots on the board, but defeated the Kentucky Oaks favorite Grace Hall. Her next start in the Gulfstream Oaks was not nearly as impressive though as she was a well beaten fifth, losing by ten lengths to Grace Hall. I’m calling the Davona Dale a fluke and throwing Yara out.
#15 Oaks Lily (KY) – As of now she is still on the outside looking in, as only fourteen horses can fit into the starting gate. If Oaks Lily does get in, her chances are really limited. It took her eight races before she broke her maiden, and in her only start on dirt she finished eleventh, beaten over fifteen lengths. She’s the longest of all long shots in this one.