Yes, I know the race is not until Friday, but the next three days of They Are Off will be dedicated to The 136th Kentucky Derby. Tomorrow will feature the selections of SureBet's Martha Claussen, Thursday will be a comparison of picks from different announcers around North America, and Friday will be my personal selections for the Run For The Roses. So, in an effort to not ignore the Oaks, here are the selections for the 136th running:
I am going to go with a pair of Kentucky ace jockeys on my first two selections. I will start with the young lion and pick Julien Leparoux and #13 Amen Hallelujah as the winner of the Oaks. She really seemed to come into her own since the move off of synthetic to the dirt in her last two starts at Gulfstream Park. She won the Grade 2 Davona Dale and ran 2nd in the Grade 2 Bonnie Miss behind Devil May Care, the Pletcher filly that will be starting in the Derby on Saturday. Her last three works have all been bullets, curiously they all took place on the grass at Gulfstream. I will put the old lion, Calvin Borel, in the place position with #8 Tidal Pool. It is entirely possible she will get the lead and never give it up, as she tried to do in the Grade 2 Fantasy at Oaklawn before being passed by Blind Luck, the favorite today. She worked a sensational six furlongs on April 20 at Churchill, going the distance in 1:12.3. She is also one of just two horses in this field with a previous victory over the Churchill oval. I am going to put #5 Blind Luck in third, even with the amazingly low morning line of 6-5. That price would be difficult to swallow in an eight-horse field, but in a fourteen-horse field, there is no chance I could put her on top. She is an outstanding filly, but she has finished behind some of the company she will be keeping in the Oaks. Her last workout at Hollywood did not impress at all, going six furlongs in 1:14.4. She has three wins and a third in four starts with Rafael Bejarano aboard, but she is by no means invincible here, which the 6-5 price would seem to indicate. I am going to throw in a huge longshot to round out the top four with #2 Jody Slew. She has 1977 Triple Crown winner, Seattle Slew, on the Sire side and Housebuster on the Dam side, which should make for a nice combination of speed and stamina. She won two of three at Fair Grounds in New Orleans with Miguel Mena in the saddle and he rides again Friday. She turned in a decent work over a sloppy Churchill track on April 23, going a half-mile in 48.2 seconds. Her 30-1 morning line makes her a live longshot for me on Friday. Here is the play for the Grade 1 $500,000 Kentucky Oaks:
$1 EX BOX 2-5-8-11-13 and $1 TRI BOX 2-5-8-13
Remember, They Are Off accepts no responsibility for any wagers placed in conjunction with these selections. They are merely suggestions. Tune in again tomorrow for Martha Claussen's selections for the Kentucky Derby. For right now, I am Gone...GOODBYE!