Updated on 05/04/2012 2:12PM

Churchill Downs: On Fire Baby, Grace Hall draw inside for Kentucky Oaks

Barbara D. Livingston
On Fire Baby will start from the rail in Friday's Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The favorites for the Kentucky Oaks came comfortably drawn when On Fire Baby and Grace Hall were assigned posts 1 and 2, respectively, while Broadway’s Alibi will start from post 6 in the oversubscribed field of 3-year-old fillies ready to go Friday in the 138th running of the filly classic at Churchill Downs.

Grace Hall, with Javier Castellano, has been listed by Churchill linemaker Mike Battaglia as the 5-2 program favorite for the Oaks, with On Fire Baby (Joe Johnson) and Broadway’s Alibi (John Velazquez) pegged as the co-second choices at 4-1.

A field of 15 3-year-old fillies was entered Tuesday morning for the Grade 1, $1 million Oaks. Oaks Lily is the lone also-eligible and can make the 1 1/8-mile race only in case of a defection. Scratch time for the race is 9 a.m. Eastern on Friday. This is the first year for an also-eligibles list for both the Oaks and Derby.

While the three favorites surely will get their share of action, the Oaks is replete with sleeper types such as Believe You Can and Summer Applause, the respective one-two finishers in the Fair Grounds Oaks; Amie’s Dini, the Fantasy Stakes runner-up; the uncoupled Bob Baffert pair of Eden’s Moon and Jemima’s Pearl; and the Ashland Stakes one-two runners, Karlovy Vary and Hard Not to Like.

Trainer Bret Calhoun said he was “a little surprised” that Summer Applause (post 3, Garrett Gomez) was rated at 15-1 on the morning line.

“Except for maybe [Grace Hall], my filly matches up with pretty much all of them on speed figures and in other ways,” said Calhoun, who knows well Churchill glory, having sent out two Breeders’ Cup winners here in 2010. “My filly is really coming into the race the right way. The 3-hole is fine with me. There’s a lot of speed in there, and Garrett can just sit and wait for things to come to him and hopefully work out a good trip for us.”

Four trainers involved in this 138th running of the Oaks have won the race before: Larry Jones, Bob Baffert (twice), Todd Pletcher (twice), and D. Wayne Lukas (four times). Lukas is really reaching this time by running a maiden, Colonial Empress.

[KENTUCKY OAKS: Get PPs, watch analysis video, and read pre-race reports]

The Oaks is the first leg in a pair of two-day wagers: a daily double combining the Derby and Oaks, and a pick three linking the Oaks, Woodford Reserve, and Derby.

The Oaks will anchor a one-hour broadcast (5-6 p.m. Eastern) on the NBC Sports Network, with post time set for 5:45. For the fourth straight year, many attendees will be attired in pink in honor of the awareness of breast-cancer fund-raising and research. A crowd exceeding 100,000 is expected again.

Entries for the five other stakes on the Oaks card also were drawn Tuesday. Those races are the Edgewood, Eight Belles, La Troienne, Alysheba, and American Turf.

First post both Friday (12 races) and Saturday (13 races) is 10:30 a.m. Eastern.

Kentucky Oaks (G1), Post Time: 5:45 ET Friday

Purse: $1,000,000; 1 1/8 miles





ML Odds


On Fire Baby

G. Hartlage

J. Johnson



Grace Hall

A. Dutrow

J. Castellano



Summer Applause

B. Calhoun

G. Gomez



Eden's Moon

B. Baffert

M. Garcia



Hard Not To Like

G. Cox

R. Albarado



Broadway's Alibi

T. Pletcher

J. Velazquez




W. Catalano

M. Smith



Jemima's Pearl

B. Baffert

J. Talamo



Believe You Can

L. Jones

R. Napravnik



And Why Not

M. Matz

J. Leparoux



Karlovy Vary

R. Arnold

J. Graham



Colonial Empress

D. W. Lukas

C. Nakatani



Amie's Dini

R. Moquett

J. Court




J. Garofollo

J. Castanon



Oaks Lily (AE)

T. Hills

R. Bejarano


All carry 121 pounds
TV: NBC Sports Network

Ian GW More than 1 year ago
Few point son the Oaks. First point this is a perfect race to verify why Beyers arent the biggest factor in horse racing and sometimes make no sense. Grace Hall best Beyer is 90 which doesnt even come close to some of the top beyers in this race from the others yet the horse is 5 to 2? If your a believer in Beyers than this is a race you dont bet Grace Hall. Second how is Sacristy 50-1? He was 2.60-1 two back, a race that was one easily in the "slop" by Broadway Alibi who is 4-1? Wow. Ton of speed in this race. I counted 8 horses that could vie for the lead. Perfect race for a shocker.
Ian GW More than 1 year ago
works on 13 is interesting? Poor sign or is that purposely done to try and slow down? Always works fast. Amie Dini
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Matz horse is going to hit the board at a nice price.
freecharm More than 1 year ago
I'm rooting for the filly with the same name as the Czech town which is also known for its two film festivals. But a healthy Princess would have romped against these! Goodluck!
Don Passidomo More than 1 year ago
..'And away we go...."