March 3, 2010

Oaks, Kentucky Oaks

Beautiful as they are intelligent. Complex and cunning, the Bond girls have adapted through the years to keep pace with the times. They have become as important to the Ian Fleming films as Bond himself. Wherever you see James Bond 007, there will always be a Bond girl. In the world of Thoroughbred horse racing, the Kentucky Derby may get top billing, but you can‘t have the Derby without the Oaks. I give you the Oaks girls…

The Top 10

1 Blind Luck (Pollard’s Vision - Lucky One by Best of Luck)
It was not quite as easy as expected, but she closed like a rocket to win her 2010 debut in the Las Virgenes. The Jerry Hollendorfer miss finished off last year with a devastating display in the Hollywood Starlet. She has a firm hold on my number one position and is ready to hit the track again in Saturday‘s Santa Anita Oaks. At this point her connections say the Oaks and not the Derby is the goal

2 Christine Daae (Giant’s Causeway - Descapate by Dehere)
Her two starts at Gulfstream Park this Winter has everyone buzzing. The grand looking Patrick Biancone trainee was blazing fast in her maiden win and very professional in a recent allowance win. She has already proven that she can handle the nine furlongs of the Oaks and there is no reason to think a quick ascent up the sophomore division is not in her future. An expected return race in the Bonnie Miss would be a class test, where she would face…

3 Amen Hallelujah (Montbrook - Sara’s Success by Concord‘s Tune)
I am not sure about the distance capabilities of this Rick Dutrow trained filly, but she was ultra impressive in her recent win in the one mile Grade 2 Davona Dale. It was her second consecutive sharp stakes score and marked her first ever race on dirt. The Florida bred should get a stern test at the distance in her next race where she is likely to look one Christine Daae square in the eye in the nine furlong Bonnie Miss.

4 Hot Dixie Chick (Dixie Union - Above Perfection by In Excess)
The unquestioned leader of the juvenile filly division through September, has been somewhat forgotten without a race in six months. The good news is, that much like her older and more famous stablemate, her work schedule has been geared up in New Orleans. Her 2010 debut should be just around the corner and if she can build upon the brilliance she displayed last Summer, she will once again be a force within the division for trainer Steve Asmussen.

5 Negligee (Northern Afleet - Naughty Notions by Relaunch)
From the same sire who brought us Afleet Alex, when last seen she was making a very good run in the Breeders’ Cup, despite running an erratic course. The John Terranova trained filly, was a surprise winner of the Grade 1 Alcibiades last Fall and she has consistently run well in all of her starts. She is now working sharply in Florida and a return race should happen shortly.

6 She Be Wild (Offlee Wild - Trappings by Seeking the Gold)
The Eclipse Award winner got off to a rocky start to her sophomore year. The Forward Gal 5th place finish was her first race since the Breeders’ Cup and her first career try on dirt, so I am willing to overlook that one, and give her another chance. One more dull effort on the dirt will make me wonder if she is more of a synthetics horse, but right now I still believe she will be able to handle the dirt and run much better next time on her trail to the Oaks.

7 Biofuel (Stormin Fever - Ms Cornstalk by Indian Charlie)
When last seen this Canadian based filly was closing like a freight train in the Breeders’ Cup, only to sideswiped by Negligee. Once she regained her stride, she was again flying towards the leaders, but a little too late. Her ability to finish off two-turns races fast, make her well suited for the last Friday in April. At the beginning of the year, I considered her a major Oaks threat, but without a workout yet this year, time is running out on the Reade Baker trained filly. She is now galloping at Palm Meadows.

8 Jody Slew (Slew City Slew - Trustbuster by Housebuster)
This improving granddaughter of Seattle Slew made a name for herself with a rousing win in the recent Silverbulletday Stakes at the Fair Grounds. In that race the Bret Calhoun trainee trailed the field for most of the way before unleashing an irresistible closing kick to get up at the wire. Continued improvement will make this experienced filly a real threat come Kentucky Oaks day.

9 Cozi Rosie (Pleasantly Perfect - Felidia by Golden Fleece)
I love the distance breeding on this Oaks list newcomer. The John Sadler trained and Jerry Moss owned stretch runner is improving with every start and should be ready to make a splash against stakes competition. Her breeding and running style make her one to watch out for in the Churchill Downs stretch. The only thing holding her back from a higher placing on this list is a class test, and she should get that very soon.

10 Evening Jewel (Northern Afleet - Jewel of the Night by Giant’s Causeway)
Unheralded California bred filly has run 1st or 2nd in her last six starts for trainer James Cassidy, including a good run against the top colt, Caracortado. She is already a stakes winner at around two turns at Santa Anita. Her last effort when beaten just a nose by the division leader, Blind Luck, in the Las Virgenes, is enough to garner her a place in the Top 10. She is the second daughter of Northern Afleet on the list.

Don’t forget, Zipse at the Track contributes to the Derby Dozen over at Steve Munday’s A consensus of ten racing experts creates the Derby Dozen, and Steve will have the list up and running every other Tuesday evening. Check out the current Derby Dozen now:


Heather said...

i simply cannot pick just one...i like so many of them in the Oaks this year.

Sarah Grice said...

I'm excited for this race! I'm rooting for Christine and Biofuel. Every time I re-watch that BC race, I am struck by how quickly Biofuel overcame the collision and made up so much lost ground.

Jeanetta said...

I love Christine Daae. She has really impressed me her last two starts. And I love the horses with the unusual facial markings!

Brian Zipse said...

Heather, You don't have to pick just one...yet!

Sarah, You are right about Biofuel's BC race, I just wish she was training earlier this year.

Jeanetta, Unusual facial markings? I bet you are a Rachel Alexandra (Blaze Interrupted) fan...LOL

LDP said...

Nice list Brian, I love your top three. I don't think Amen Hallelujah will have any problem with the extra eighth of a mile. Even with that said I agree that she is currently third on the list behind one more accomplish and one with probably more raw ability.

mvlach77 said...

Hot Dixie Chick is my favorite. I loved what she did as a two year old and we'll see if she can stretch her talents out over a distance.


Jeanetta said...

You KNOW I'm a Rachel fan, Brian!
Come on...20 pictures of her on my Facebook page is proof of my Rachel obsession. ;p

railrunner said...

Blind Luck's Starlet was astonishing, I still watch it and say "wow, where did she just come from?!" That turn of foot was out of the world, one of the best displays I have ever seen.