04/17/2013 2:57PM

Kentucky Oaks field looks set as Live Lively drops out

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Tom Keyser
Live Lively will ship Sunday from her winter base in south Florida to Belmont Park.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Live Lively has been declared out of the Kentucky Oaks, clearing a spot on the eligibility list for Pure Fun and pretty much firming up the lineup for the May 3 filly classic at Churchill Downs.

Live Lively, a distant second in the March 30 Gulfstream Park Oaks to Dreaming of Julia, will be pointed instead to the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes on the May 17 Preakness eve card at Pimlico, trainer Mark Hennig said Wednesday via Twitter.

After discussing the Oaks at length with owner Lee Lewis, Hennig said they both believed it was more prudent to focus instead on a summer campaign. Live Lively will ship Sunday from her winter base in south Florida to Belmont Park, he added.

Meanwhile, Pure Fun will remain in the lineup as the only filly versus 10 colts and geldings Saturday in the Grade 3, $200,000 Coolmore Lexington Stakes at Keeneland, despite apparently not needing any more eligibility points and despite having drawn the far outside post in the 1 1/16-mile Polytrack race.

The Lexington offers 34 points (20-8-4-2) for Kentucky Derby eligibility. Those points also can be used by a filly toward eligibility into the Derby or Oaks.

Pure Fun “needs the race,” said her trainer, Ken McPeek. “I’d much rather run her once than work her twice.”

As of Wednesday, these are the 14 probables for the Oaks: Beholder, Rose to Gold, Unlimited Budget, Dreaming of Julia, Close Hatches, Flashy Gray, Princess of Sylmar, Fiftyshadesofhay, Midnight Lucky, Silsita, Manuka Honey, Seaneen Girl, Promise Me More, and Pure Fun.

Besides Live Lively, among the other fillies who have made the eligibility cutoff for the Oaks but have been declared out or unlikely to run by their connections are Emollient, Iotapa, and Ciao Bella Luna.

Churchill is listing just one other filly, Broken Spell, as still wanting into the race. Oaks entries will be drawn April 30.