Iowa Oaks Preview: Wide Open Field Takes Aim at Prairie Meadows

MARQUEE MISS - The Dixie Belle - 38th Running - 01-15-16 - R08 - OP -Finish 2 - Photo Credit: Coady Photography
Coady Photography

Likely Winners

#2 Thrilled – I’m willing to completely throw out her last race at Woodbine over the poly track as that plays much different than the dirt.  However, she still finished third in that race so maybe its not such a negative.  Two races back she was a nice winner of the Plum Pretty Stakes at Sunland Park, but perhaps its her race three back that makes me think she’s just too good for this group.  That race was the Demoisel at Aqueduct where she was only beaten a little over a length by Lewis Bay who I believe is pretty salty.  Jockey Martin Garcia is no stranger to Prairie Meadows and these series of stakes races, and I believe Pletcher has certainly shipped this horse in to win.  Hopefully the price isn’t too short…with a field of 11 there is a chance it won’t be that bad.

#9 Emmzy – Stretched out last time in a maiden special weight and picked up a win at Santa Anita so now it makes me very interested in her today.  Her resume reminds me a little bit of Prayer for Relief who came into Iowa several years ago and won the Iowa Derby without having a flashy resume.  Also what a coincidence…Zayat Stables owns this horse just like they did Prayer for Relief.  Usually an up and comer wins this race  so Emmzy fits the bill.  Not willing to take a short price, but worth a shot at 4-1 or better.

#11 Family Tree – This filly has been a model of consistency in her career, but admittedly has had some trouble winning races.  However, she’s been up against some tough ones so this field won’t intimidate her in the slightest.  She’s got a lot of early speed which is what you want at Prairie Meadows, and with Geroux aboard I think you can trust that she’s going to get a decent trip.  Her outside draw may actually put her in a perfect position outside all the speed.  Could stalk the pace and pounce at the end and make things interesting.

Exotic Plays

#7 Alotta Skirt – You have to be very careful of these Kentucky shippers during this entire Iowa Festival of Racing as they have been very successful over the years even if they don’t have a flashy stakes resume.  This filly seems to be making the logical progression as she’s won two in a row with both being the same distance as this race today.  Her recent form and connections made me almost put her in the “likely winners” spot but I just liked the top three I have listed a little too much.

#6 Ready to Confess – Another Kentucky shipper here that looms very dangerous.  Ran pretty well in two out of three races at Oaklawn Park this year ending with a solid third place finish in the Grade 2 Fantasy Stakes.  She followed that performance up with a recent allowance win at Churchill Downs over Family Tree.  You might find it odd that I have Family Tree listed ahead of Ready to Confess, but I just like the consistency of Family Tree a bit more.  Ready to Confess hasn’t been all that consistent…her best race can win this one, but I’m afraid she may have ran her best race one start to early.

Party Crashers

#4 Marquee Miss – I’m the first to admit this filly has been tough for me to figure out this year.  At Oaklawn Park I didn’t think she was much to start the meet and she ended up winning the first two 3 year old filly stakes races at the meeting.  When running in her third start at Oaklawn, The Honeybee Stakes, I had her in the top 3 but she didn’t even finish the race.  Since then she has ran poorly in a couple of starts against good company, but I can’t throw her out completely because of her history of beating me.  Plus, her class matches up fairly well with the rest of these.

Throw Outs

#8 Just Wicked – At one point I thought this filly was going to be star, but I’m not so sure she’ll even win another race.  Lets not forget last summer she won the Grade 2 Adirondack at Saratoga…however she hasn’t ran well since.  Unreal that I’m throwing her out today.

#10 Put Da Blame On Me – Almost put her in the “exotic play” category, but just like a few of these a bit more in here.  Not impossible, but hasn’t shown enough to give me confidence.  Two turns might be her thing though.

#5 Bonita Cat – Finished second in the local prep race for the Iowa Oaks, but it was a well beaten second.  This field is a tougher test today so her chances don’t look good.

#1 For All the Grands – Was beaten badly in the prep race for this one last time out, and this field is tougher today than what she faced in that spot.  This would be a big surprise.

#3 Kiss N Scat Always hard to count out Jerry Hollendorfer, and especially since he’s winning everything in site lately.  However, this horse hasn’t done much running in awhile and this field looks a little tough for her.

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