2016 Kentucky Oaks Preview: Rachel’s Valentina Looks to Make Momma Proud

Rachel's Valentina - Morning Training - KEE - 040616
Trainer: Todd A. Pletcher
Owner: Stonestreet Stables LLC
Breeder: Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings LLC
Coady Photography

Likely Winners

#11 Rachel’s Valentina – Several qualities made me land on her, but lets start with the most basic one which is the simple fact she holds a win over a lot of the top contenders in this race.  She did lose to Weep No More last time out, but it was understandable that she could lose that race considering she was coming off a five month layoff and entering right into a Grade 1 stakes for her first race as a three year old.  She ran admirable in that race, and was able to hold off and dig down deep to fight off a furious charge from Cathryn Sophia on the turn to finish second.  Now this will be her second race off the layoff, and with any improvement at all she looks to be too good for this bunch.  It would be quite the story book type moment for her if she could do what her mother did in 2009 and win the Kentucky Oaks.  With her class and the absence of Songbird she has a big chance to get the job done.

#3 Lewis Bay – It’s hard not to like a horse that has already won at the distance when nobody else in the race has done it.  However, that’s not the only positive about Lewis Bay.  She has proven that she can win without having a perfect trip, and she’s also proven that she can win without having to sit close to the lead.  With her post position draw those positives qualities will come in to play even more as she’s drew a tough spot on the inside.  There is no doubt she can make her way through horses in the end and make things very tough for the speed horses out in front of her that she’ll look to run down.

#13 Land Over Sea – Finally got away from Songbird last time out after losing to her five straight times, and won the race easily.  She’s never been competitive with Songbird, but nobody really has been up to this point.  I had this horse as my top pick for most of the week leading up to this race so it would be no surprise to me at all if she wins the race.  However, I think she has a few question marks that the top two I have listed do not have so I reluctantly dropped her into the third spot.

Exotic Play

#12 Cathryn Sophia – With out any question whatsoever this filly is the best horse in the race by a wide margin.  Her talent is unmatched by everyone in the crop but Songbird, but it looks as though this horse has distance limitations as last time out was her first start around two turns and she flattened out big time.  If it was something else that was bothering her that day, and she really can get the distance then she will make them all look silly.  However, it’s very hard to back her as a win contender based on that last performance.  Classy enough to stick around at the end though and make it interesting.

#2 Weep No More – Huge upset winner of the Ashland Stakes is back to put to rest the theory that last time out was a fluke.  At first I thought her win was just that…a fluke…but after careful review I don’t think that actually is the case.  She certainly stepped her game to win the race, but she was progressing nicely at Tampa Bay before coming to Keeneland and winning.  The extra distance shouldn’t be anything that bothers her, but I’m afraid she might not be as good as the very top horses in this race.  Will play heavy underneath.

Party Crashers

#4 Go Maggie Go – Last time out trainer Dale Romans threw her in to the deep end of the pool off a nice debut maiden win, and she responded nicely when winning the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Oaks by over two lengths.  Her speed figures are already competitive with the top flight horses in this race, and with only two starts it isn’t out of the question she could still be improving.  The flip side however is the fact that she is facing horses with much more experience than she has been able to accumulate.  She’ll have to be extremely classy to win this one, and she might be…we just don’t have enough information to know anything for sure.  She’s the wildcard of the race.

#8 Royal Obsession – She’s interesting enough for me not to want to throw her out completely, especially because her odds are going to be playable.  Stonestreet Stables purchased her for over one million dollars, but so far she has just been average.  However, her race last time out in the Grade 2 Gazelle Stakes going a mile and one eighth wasn’t bad at all.  If she can repeat that effort in this one she could play a small part in things, and if she improves it’s not impossible for to pull off a major upset.  Worth a second look at this price.

Throw Outs

#1 Terra Promessa – Loved this horse all meet long at Oaklawn Park, but the local 3 year old fillies weren’t all that strong this year.  Would have made her an exotic play if she hadn’t have drawn the rail, but that was the final straw for me to think she’s going to have some struggles.

#5 Dream Dance – Decent horse, but has had several chances against stakes company and can never seem to get the job done.  Was beaten easily by Land Over Sea two races back which is not a horse I have as a likely winner in this race.

#6 Mokat – Has been beat up by Songbird twice, and Land Over Sea once.  It certainly helps to get away from Songbird, but she simply still may not be good enough as her prior from hasn’t been stellar.

#7 Mo d’Amour – Has looked solid since arriving to Louisville, but on paper there isn’t a lot of hope that she’s fast enough to get it done.  Will have to improve several lengths.

#9 Paola Queen – Mildly interesting contender as she ran second to Go Maggie Go last time out, and Go Maggie Go is getting some steam since arriving at Churchill Dows.  I think people see a lot of upside in Maggie, while they don’t see that in Paola Queen which is reasonable.

#10 Venus Valentine – Came back to earth a little bit last time out after running very well to win the Rachel Alexandra Stakes two races back.  Will have trouble competing with these today unless she improves multiple lengths.

#14 Taxable – This filly is coming into the race very well, and could improve off her recent efforts but the post position draw kills her chances.  She needs to run a big one, and this post makes that very unlikely.


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