04/25/2013 1:26PM

Kentucky Oaks notes: Eleven fillies or fewer likely

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Barbara D. Livingston
Dreaming of Julia will be the morning-line favorite for the May 3 Kentucky Oaks, according to Churchill Downs oddsmaker Mike Battaglia.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The new points system to determine eligibility for the Kentucky Oaks barely got out of the starting gate before being led back into its stall. No more than 11 3-year-old fillies are under consideration for the filly classic next Friday, well below the 14-horse limit.

Entries for the 139th Oaks at Churchill Downs will be drawn Tuesday. Most of the hopefuls were scheduled to have their final prerace works over the weekend, including Saturday breezes by Dreaming of Julia and Unlimited Budget, two of the Todd Pletcher foursome that is drawing considerable attention in the run-up to the Grade 1, $1 million race.

Pletcher also has Saturday works planned for Silsita and Princess of Sylmar, the latter of whom is not considered definite for the Oaks. Pletcher said he was not completely satisfied with how Princess of Sylmar worked last week, and he wanted to see another breeze from her before committing to the race.

Meanwhile, Beholder, the 2-year-old filly champion of 2012, had her final pre-Oaks work Thursday at Santa Anita, going seven furlongs in 1:27.80 for trainer Richard Mandella. Beholder is scheduled to be flown here Saturday on the same charter flight carrying Kentucky Derby hopeful Goldencents and other horses from Southern California.

As for favoritism in the Oaks, Churchill oddsmaker Mike Battaglia said Thursday he intends to make Dreaming of Julia the morning-line choice, followed by Beholder and Unlimited Budget, although perhaps not in that order.

“It’s got to be close for second choice, I’d think,” Battaglia said. “After those three, I haven’t really gotten into the race too deep yet.”

The new Oaks points system is modeled after its counterpart for the Kentucky Derby, with races assigned various values in case the field overfills.

With jockeys, these are the 11 Oaks prospects: Beholder, Garrett Gomez; Close Hatches, Joel Rosario; Dreaming of Julia, John Velazquez; Flashy Gray, Junior Alvarado; Midnight Lucky, Rafael Bejarano; Princess of Sylmar, no rider; Pure Fun, Julien Leparoux; Rose to Gold, Calvin Borel; Seaneen Girl, Martin Garcia; Silsita, Gary Stevens; and Unlimited Budget, Javier Castellano.

Supporting stakes draw top runners

Aside from the Derby, the Oaks, and the enticing prospect of Wise Dan possibly running in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic, there are other sensational races to be run here next weekend. Here are some of the notable prospects for a few of those supporting events:

• Grade 2 La Troienne (Friday): Believe You Can, On Fire Baby, Authenticity.

• Grade 2 Alysheba (Friday): Fort Larned, Bourbon Courage, Take Charge Indy, Infrattini.

• Grade 1 Humana Distaff (Saturday): Aubby K, Rumor, Byrama, Vuitton.

• Grade 2 Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (Saturday): Hungry Island, Marketing Mix, Stephanie’s Kitten.

In the meantime, trainer Charlie LoPresti said he and owner-breeder Mort Fink are deliberating whether to try Wise Dan, the 2012 Horse of the Year, in the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve on the Derby undercard. Another turf standout, Point of Entry, already is confirmed for the 1 1/8-mile race.

Derby DreamBet promotion ends

After three years, “the Dream” has died a quiet death.

Churchill officials confirmed this week that the “Derby DreamBet,” prominently featured on the NBC Sports telecast of the Derby in each of the past three years, is no longer. Churchill co-sponsored the promotion with the NBC family of networks.

The online contest to earn a chance to make a $100,000 win wager was wildly received in its first year in 2010, when a Houston man named Glen Fullerton won $900,000 by placing his bet on Super Saver.

For the record, the two subsequent DreamBet wagers got progressively worse results when placed on Mucho Macho Man (third at 9-1 in 2011) and Alpha (12th at 19-1 in 2012).

No 10-cent supers on Derby Weekend

Horseplayers with visions of hitting a 10-cent superfecta on the Derby, stop right there. Because of logistical considerations involving huge crowds and potentially clogged mutuel lines at Churchill and elsewhere, the minimum superfecta wager for all races on Oaks and Derby Days will remain $1.

Joe Eckert More than 1 year ago
Will they have 50 cent trifectas ?
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
Midnight Lucky is a beast. No way will she be fourth or fifth choice...Ihope so but don't see it. My clear pick.
martin Wilson More than 1 year ago
With today's Tec. We should be able to do online.
Keith Strouhal More than 1 year ago
Close Hatches
Grazyna Mianska More than 1 year ago
Any other year she would be odds on. Hope to get some good odds. Ten to one or better would be nice.
Perl More than 1 year ago
She's a toss. Final f in 14 seconds at Aqueduct! Pace fodder.
Perl More than 1 year ago
That's too bad about no dime super. If ever there were a race taylor made for a dime super it's the Derby. As a fan I hope Wise Dan runs in the Turf Classic, but I'm not sure he has enough rest going in. Plus he has been running 8f for a while now. Stretching to 9 and facing that monster Point of Entry doesn't seem like a great idea, but it is very sporting of his connections.
PennNatRick More than 1 year ago
maybe one day they will figure out a way that people who wager online can play 10 cent supers.... No lines wagering on your computer. PNR
J.L. Boey More than 1 year ago
No big deal, Wise Dan won the Shadwell Mile last year off 18 days rest, and he's fresh this year. That is not their biggest dilemma, it's only for show. They really would like to try dirt for a potential tilt in the BC Classic this time. And if he runs in the Woodford Reserve? Easy money. Point of Entry does not have the turn of foot to go with Wise Dan at 9f which, on grass is almost like a mile race for the stretch run. All superstar milers in recent memory, domestic or international, have great success outlasting or getting away from 10-12f horses cutting back to 9f.
Perl More than 1 year ago
Normally I would agree with this logic but POE is a special horse. Did you see the tactical speed he showed in the GP handicap at 9f? Dan will have to make that huge move on the turn and try to get loose at the top of the lane because POE will be hunting after that and it's a long run to the wire at CD. In short, two awesome horses but I favor POE.
Alex Sterioff More than 1 year ago
What has Beholder done wrong to suggest she should not be the clear favorite. After all she beat dreaming of Julia in November by 5 lengths.
Perl More than 1 year ago
True, but that was on a speed favoring surface and since then Julia ran a hole in the wind at GP. Julia will definitely be favored, maybe 7-5 or 3-2. So you should pound Beholder if you feel that way. Best-a-luck!
J.L. Boey More than 1 year ago
You will get closer to 5-2. With two strong second choices in the mix, it is mathematically impossible for a horse to be close to even money in a 10h field, especially not on Oaks or Derby day. Bettors will pound Unlimited Budget (never underestimate an undefeated runner) and Beholder (the best speed horse, 4 of the last 5 Oaks were won by fillies running 1st or 2nd in the early splits).
ElRatonColorao More than 1 year ago
No dime supers? Dick Jerardi is happy I'm sure!