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Wet Paint won the 2023 Fantasy Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn Park to earn 100 points toward the 2023 Kentucky Oaks (G1). Now that she has swept the Oaklawn series of Oaks races, is the Brad Cox trainee the undisputed Oaks favorite? Tell us YOUR thoughts in the Comments section!
Godolphin LLC’s Wet Paint became just the second filly in history to sweep Oaklawn’s series for 3-year-old fillies with Kentucky Oaks aspirations with her victory in Saturday’s $600,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3), while also adding another 100 points towards Oaks eligibility. She had earned 20 points for winning the Martha Washington Jan. 28 and 50 points for winning the Honeybee Stakes (G3) Feb. 25, making her the points leader with 170.
Last under jockey Flavien Prat, Wet Paint just bided her time through opening fractions of :22 4/5 and :47 for the first half mile. The heavy 1-2 favorite was still eighth of 10 after three-quarters of a mile, but had already begun to make her move. She came five wide into the stretch for the drive and drew off with authority to by 2 ½ lengths over Taxed in 1:44 for 1 1/16 miles over a fast track. Oliva Twist was third.
Wet Paint, a Blame filly, improved her record to four wins from six starts and has now earned $689,000. She returned $3.20, $2.60 and $2.40.
2023 Kentucky Oaks
Winning trainer Brad Cox (trainer, Fantasy winner, Wet Paint): “I guess when you break and they (the field) kind of gets away from you a bit you’re always a little concerned. But they were strung out a little bit. I saw the half in 47 (seconds) and thought she was going to be able to close into it, and she finished up well. When Flavien asked her to pick it up at the half-mile, you could tell he was riding her with a lot of confidence. At the three-eighths pole, she ranged up and was just cruising along. Very happy with how she finished up and galloped out. She ran great, won going away.”
(Next stop Kentucky Oaks): “No doubt. It was five days from yesterday (Friday) as long as she comes out of it in good order, we’d expect her to. We’ll get her to Churchill at some point this week and get her ready for the Oaks.”
(You’re loaded with 3-year-old fillies): “Yeah, we’ve got a good group. Obviously this filly Punch Bowl, Botanical, Flashy Gem, The Alys Look. I’m not sure they’ll all run, but I think we’re going to have a couple anyhow.”
(Great Oaklawn meet for Wet Paint) “Really amazing. It was the week of the Martha Washington, she was a late entry. I had her on the synthetic at Turfway and she broke her maiden on a wet track at Indiana last fall. But the lack of speed she showed in her races, we wanted to get her on the grass. We thought it would put her into the race a little more. But she comes running and obviously she’s able to win nice races and graded stakes and she doesn’t need to be involved in the race early. Flavien came back and said, ‘Wow, her turn of foot is really devastating.’ She’s kind of like a grass horse. When you ask her to go, she really, really accelerates.”
Randy Morse (trainer runner-up Taxed): “She ran great. She relaxed a lot better without the blinkers. She was bottled up there for a while. I’m tickled to death.”
Jockey Rafael Bejarano, second on Taxed: “She ran really good. I was really happy. Taking off the blinkers made a big difference. He (trainer Randy Morse) worked her without blinkers the last time. I suggested that we should try her without the blinkers. She worked fine. She showed me a better kick this time and she never quit. The winner (Wet Paint) was much the best, but I think she can compete with these kinds of horses.”
Todd Fincher (trainer third-place Olivia Twist): “She ran really good. We had no excuses. She did everything right. Just a really nice horse. I just hate that we got third instead of second.”
Jockey David Cabrera, third on Olivia Twist: “That was a tough field, man. My horse ran a tremendous race. She broke out of there really sharp. We couldn’t ask for any better position. She ran a great race. The gate crew did a tremendous job. The horse was a little restless in the gate. They took their time to back her out and put her back in. I couldn’t ask for any better. We had our trip. Just got outrun.”
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