Updated on 09/16/2011 7:16AM

Belterra's status still uncertain


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Against the backdrop of the 128th Kentucky Derby - from which not a single horse has defected for the last week or so - the ever-changing composition of the prospective field for the 128th Kentucky Oaks is providing a stark contrast.

The most notable defection from the Oaks field came with the death of the champion filly Tempera, who was euthanized Sunday night after suffering from laminitis.

Last week, trainer Niall O'Callaghan withdrew Chamrousse from the Oaks, and Steve Asmussen said Lake Lady was not doing well enough to be part of what is easily the deepest assemblage of 3-year-old fillies this year.

In addition, Donnie K. Von Hemel told Churchill officials that See How She Runs, the unbeaten winner of the Fantasy Stakes, will not be supplemented for $25,000. And on Monday, trainer Carl Nafzger continued to hedge on the status of Belterra. With Oaks entries scheduled to be drawn Tuesday, Nafzger said Belterra probably would breeze that morning before a decision whether to enter would be made.

"If she's 110 percent, we're running," said Nafzger. "If she's 90, 95 percent, who knows? I wish I was that smart."

Earlier Monday, Belterra's stablemate, Take the Cake, breezed five furlongs in 1:01.60. Nafzger said he is extremely pleased with how Take the Cake, a chestnut Fly So Free filly, is approaching the Oaks.

With or without Belterra, the Oaks continues to retain most of its power base. Take Charge Lady, You, and Bella Bellucci figure to be the favorites in the Grade 1, $500,000 race. Meanwhile, several longshots are also expected to join the lineup: Ile de France and Farda Amiga, the third- and fourth-place finishers in the March 9 Santa Anita Oaks, and Traci's Wild, trained by Gary Thomas.

"We're coming at the last minute," said Richard Mandella, trainer of Ile de France, who was scheduled to be flown Tuesday with Farda Amiga from California.

With jockeys, these are the contenders for the 1 1/8-mile Oaks, which will be televised live on ESPN2:

Bella Bellucci, Gary Stevens; Belterra, Jon Court; Farda Amiga, Chris McCarron; Habibti, Victor Espinoza; Ile de France, Alex Solis; Imperial Gesture, Frankie Dettori; Ms Brookski, Jorge Chavez; Take Charge Lady, Tony D'Amico; Take the Cake, Rene Douglas; Traci's Wild, Pat Day; and You, Jerry Bailey.