04/25/2013 2:26PM

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.