04/27/2010 12:00AM

Blind Luck made 6-5 favorite for Oaks

Email
Jeff Coady/Coady Photography
Fantasy winner Blind Luck will break from post 5 in Friday's Oaks.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Much of the speculation about the Kentucky Oaks has focused on who isn't running rather than who is. So when Devil May Care was missing from the draw Tuesday morning, assessment of the race shape could finally begin in earnest.

At least this much is known about the Oaks: In the absence of Devil May Care, who runs instead Saturday in the Kentucky Derby, Blind Luck will be a heavy favorite in a full field of 14 3-year-old fillies. Churchill linemaker Mike Battaglia has pegged Blind Luck as the 6-5 program choice in the Oaks, a Grade 1, 1 1/8-mile race that will be run Friday for the 136th time at Churchill Downs.

Rafael Bejarano, who has ridden Blind Luck in her last four starts, will be aboard from post 5 for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, already a two-time Oaks winner with Lite Light (1991) and Pike Place Dancer (1996).

After Blind Luck, however, the pecking order of favoritism seems far less simple to define. Battaglia has listed three fillies next at 8-1: Crisp, Tidal Pool, and Amen Hallelujah.

Crisp, who upset Blind Luck in the Santa Anita Oaks in early March, will be looking to spring an even bigger surprise Friday.

"Blind Luck had a really tough trip when we got lucky enough to beat her at Santa Anita," said John Sadler, the trainer of Crisp. "Our filly is big and strong, and the extra distance isn't going to bother us at all. But Blind Luck is definitely the horse to beat."

Rick Dutrow, trainer of Amen Hallelujah, said he is glad Devil May Care will go in the Derby, considering Amen Hallelujah was a well-beaten second behind her in the Bonnie Miss Stakes last month at Gulfstream Park.

"It looks like we're very live now," said Dutrow. "It looks like our filly really likes this track. I'm very happy with the position we're in."

Tidal Pool, second to Blind Luck in the April 2 Fantasy Stakes in the most recent start for both fillies, is trained by D. Wayne Lukas, whose last of four Oaks wins came 20 years ago with Seaside Attraction.

Other contenders in the Oaks include Evening Jewel and It's Tea Time, the one-two finishers in the Ashland Stakes earlier this month; Quiet Temper, winner of the Fair Grounds Oaks; and Ailalea, the lone remaining entrant for the Pletcher stable.

Rounding out the lineup are Jody Slew, Age of Humor, Beautician, Bella Diamante, Champagne d'Oro, and Joanie's Catch.

Fifteen fillies were entered, with Seeking the Title being the lone exclusion. If all 14 start, the purse will be $584,300, with $329,662 to the winner.

The last two out-of-town arrivals for the Oaks got here Tuesday, with Joanie's Catch coming by van following a 19-hour trip from south Florida and Evening Jewel coming on an early-morning charter flight from Southern California.

The Oaks is carded as the 11th of 12 Friday races on a program that begins at 10:30 a.m. Eastern. The race will be televised live on the Bravo cable network on a one-hour show that begins at 5 p.m. Eastern, with the Oaks set for 5:45.

The weather forecast for Friday calls for partly cloudy skies and a high temperature of 78. As usual, an ontrack crowd of more than 100,000 is expected.

The Oaks will lead off a pair of two-day wagers: a daily double linked with the Derby and a pick three with the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic and the Derby.

Grade 1, $584,300 Kentucky Oaks

Post Horse Jockey M/L Odds
1 It's Tea Time Alan Garcia 15-1
2 Jody Slew Miguel Mena 30-1
3 Quiet Temper Robby Albarado 10-1
4 Age of Humor Rajiv Maragh 30-1
5 Blind Luck Rafael Bejarano 6-5
6 Beautician Alex Solis 15-1
7 Crisp Joel Rosario 8-1
8 Tidal Pool Calvin Borel 8-1
9 Bella Diamante Mike Smith 30-1
10 Champagne d'Oro Martin Garcia 30-1
11 Evening Jewel Kent Desormeaux 10-1
12 Ailalea John Velazquez 15-1
13 Amen Hallelujah Julien Leparoux 8-1
14 Joanie's Catch Paco Lopez 30-1
All starters carry 121 pounds. Excluded: Seeking the Title.