04/28/2008 11:00PM

As insurance, Eight Belles enters Oaks


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Trainer Larry Jones entered Eight Belles in Friday's $500,000 Kentucky Oaks just in case his filly drew a bad post in the Kentucky Derby. His insurance policy, however, arguably lost much of its value after Eight Belles was assigned the extreme outside post position in a full field of 12 3-year-old fillies drawn Tuesday at Churchill Downs for the Grade 1, 1 1/8-mile Oaks.

As expected, Jones entered Eight Belles in the Oaks along with Proud Spell, who will break from post 8 and will likely be favored should her uncoupled stablemate run in the Derby as planned.

Proud Spell will attempt to rebound from a third-place finish over Keeneland's Polytrack in the Grade 1 Ashland. Four weeks earlier, Proud Spell upset Eclipse Award winner Indian Blessing in the Grade 2 Fair Ground Oaks.

"She should be the favorite or at least second choice off what she's accomplished," Jones said of Proud Spell, who was also considered a potential Kentucky Derby starter less than a week ago.

Proud Spell will have an opportunity to avenge her latest setback, which came at the hands of Little Belle and Bsharpsonata, who one-two in the Ashland. They are among several other leading contenders in an outstanding Oaks field that also includes Grade 1 winners Country Star and Golden Doc A.

"We're hoping Eight Belles draws better in the Derby than she did the Oaks and goes there instead," said Kiaran McLaughlin, who trains the homebred Little Belle for Darley Stable. "We're very pleased with our draw getting post seven. There wasn't much speed in the Ashland so she wound up going to the front but it looks like there might be enough pace in the Oaks, where we can sit off the lead and stalk, whether it be from second or fifth."

Country Star will begin from just inside Little Belle in post 6 while attempting to rebound from a fifth-place finish as the even-money favorite in her 3-year-old debut in the Ashland. Country Star won the Grade 1 Alcibiades and Hollywood Starlet at 2.

Golden Doc A drew the rail and like Country Star will be making her first start on dirt in the Oaks. Golden Doc A. has finished second in each of her last two starts after capturing Santa Anita's Grade 1 Las Virgenes Stakes this past winter.

Absolutely Cindy, Awesome Chic, Elusive Lady, Rasierra, A to the Croft, and Pure Clan complete the lineup. Rasierra was supplemented into the Oaks at a cost of $25,000.