04/15/2013 5:39PM

Keeneland: Pletcher looks strong for Kentucky Oaks

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Barbara D. Livingston
Dreaming of Julia worked a half-mile in 49 seconds on Sunday.

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Todd Pletcher not only holds a formidable hand for the Kentucky Derby with as many as five possible starters, but he might be even stronger with what he has for the Kentucky Oaks.

Pletcher figures to have two of the top choices for the May 3 Oaks in Dreaming of Julia and Unlimited Budget, both of whom were out for half-mile workouts Sunday morning over a fast main track at Churchill Downs. Dreaming of Julia, going solo, went in 49 seconds, while Unlimited Budget went in 48.60 seconds in company with yet another Oaks-bound Pletcher filly, Silsita.

Like the Derby, eligibility into the Oaks is being determined for the first time this year by a points system. After the Beaumont Stakes was run Sunday at Keeneland, there were no more points races for fillies only.

As of Monday, these are the 14 fillies atop the Oaks points list: Beholder, Rose to Gold, Unlimited Budget, Dreaming of Julia, Close Hatches, Live Lively, Flashy Gray, Princess of Sylmar, Fiftyshadesofhay, Midnight Lucky, Silsita, Manuka Honey, Seaneen Girl, and Promise Me More.

Iotapa was declared from consideration by John Sadler over the weekend, while Emollient, the runaway winner of the April 6 Ashland at Keeneland, could run if so desired, although trainer Bill Mott said this weekend in Florida that he was likely to run only Close Hatches and Flashy Gray.

As for Pletcher and his chances at a sweep, only twice has a trainer won the Oaks and Derby in the same year: Herbert “Derby Dick” Thompson in 1933 and Ben Jones in 1952.