04/24/2012 12:41PM

Churchill Downs: Also-eligibles list may be needed for Kentucky Oaks


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The Kentucky Derby isn’t the only big upcoming race at Churchill Downs likely to have an also-eligibles list. The Kentucky Oaks also will have an AE list comprised of as many as four horses in case the race is oversubscribed with the limit of 14 fillies, and at this point, it looks as if that might well happen.

New to both races for this year, the also-eligibles lists were deemed necessary because of the way some Oaks and Derby hopefuls have been precluded from competing in recent years, despite other horses being scratched after entry time. The most important thing to know about both AE lists is this: scratch time for both races is 9 a.m. Eastern on Friday, May 4, meaning the final fields of 20 (Derby) and 14 (Oaks) will be decided then. The early deadline is necessitated because of advance-wagering considerations for the Derby.

“We don’t want any confusion,” Churchill racing secretary Ben Huffman said. “When the gates open on Oaks morning, the issue will already be put to rest, including for people wanting to bet early on the Derby.”

While the Derby could have as many as 24 horses on the program (with at least four ultimately being scratched), at least 16 3-year-old fillies remain under consideration for the 138th Kentucky Oaks, although it is not inconceivable that 18 will be on the program. Entries for the Oaks and all other May 4 races will be drawn Tuesday, and entries for the Derby and all other May 5 races will be drawn Wednesday.

As of Tuesday, the 16 Oaks fillies, in order of graded-earnings preference, are Grace Hall, Believe You Can, Karlovy Vary, On Fire Baby, Broadway’s Alibi, Yara, Summer Applause, Eden’s Moon, Mamma Kimbo, Hard Not to Like, Amie’s Dini, In Lingerie, And Why Not, and Jemima’s Pearl, with Colonial Empress and Oaks Lily being the last two on the list.

A handful of Oaks fillies were among those to train Tuesday morning at Churchill during the post-break session reserved for Derby and Oaks horses. Most notable were the Bob Baffert duo of Jemima’s Pearl, who went five furlongs in 1:01.60 when serving as a pacesetter for stablemate Bodemeister, and Mamma Kimbo, who, a few minutes later, went the same distance solo in 1:01.80.

Virtually all of the Oaks hopefuls are scheduled to have their final pre-race works over the next few days.

Derby, Oaks undercards take shape

The undercard stakes for Oaks and Derby days are taking shape this week, with the richest of those races being the Grade 1, $500,000 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic on Derby Day.

Among the known prospects for the Woodford are Boisterous, Data Link, Doubles Partner, Get Stormy, Little Mike, Papaw Bodie, Slim Shadey, Turallure, and Turbo Compressor.

The race that clearly took the biggest hit was the Grade 2 La Troienne (Oaks Day) with the loss of Havre de Grace, the 2011 Horse of the Year, to retirement Monday. Neither Awesome Maria nor Plum Pretty are expected for the La Troienne, either.