04/23/2017 10:09AM

Watchmaker: Let's not forget the Kentucky Oaks


Every year, in the run-up to the first weekend in May, the Kentucky Derby overshadows everything in its orbit including, unfortunately, the Kentucky Oaks. It doesn’t even matter how good (or not good), the Derby promises to be; the Derby dwarfs the Oaks simply because it is the Kentucky freakin’ Derby.

And every year, people, sometimes with justification but always with misplaced hope, lament how the Kentucky Oaks gets short shrift. It’s an endless cycle. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

No one can change this fact of life. But on a relatively light stakes weekend – yes, I know the $1.25 million Charles Town Classic was run on Saturday; it was a light stakes weekend – this looked like a good opportunity to do a little something for those clamoring for more on the Oaks.

Below you will find a grid I put together for the Oaks similar to the Derby Watch chart colleague Jay Privman and I do. This Oaks grid includes the 14 fillies currently listed by Churchill Downs as in the Oaks field on points, notes their last races, finishes, and Beyers, and also has a comment on each by yours truly. I also made an odds line. And as has been the case for the 19 years Privman and I have done Derby Watch, the horses are listed in order of my odds, not in any personal rank or handicapping preference.

Here it is:

Paradise Woods 5*2 Santa Anita Oaks, 4/8  
by Union Rags   1st by 11 3/4, 107 MW: Her domination of the SA Oaks made us forget Unique Bella will miss the Oaks, which says a lot.
Farrell 4*1 Fair Grounds Oaks, 4/1  
by Malibu Moon   1st by 3 1/4, 86 MW: Has won her last four, all stakes, by open lengths, proven at Churchill, but her Beyers are light.
Miss Sky Warrior 6*1 Gazelle, 4/8  
by First Samurai   1st by 13, 94 MW: The Gazelle was by far the best race she's ever run and also marked a huge Beyer leap forward.
Abel Tasman 8*1 Santa Anita Oaks, 4/8  
by Quality Road   2nd 11 3/4, 88 MW: Probably wouldn't have made a difference, but was left with way too much to do late last time.
Salty 8*1 Gulfstream Park Oaks, 4/1
by Quality Road   1st by 4 1/4, 88 MW: Don't know what she beat, but her GP Oaks, her first attempt around two turns, was impressive.
It Tiz Well 15*1 Santa Anita Oaks, 4/8  
by Arch   3rd by 14, 85 MW: Beaten a long way by Paradise Woods last time and Unique Bella early in year, fits with the rest.
Daddys Lil Darling 20*1 Ashland, 4/8  
by Scat Daddy   2nd by 1/2, 77 MW: She lags early, and that 77 Beyer she earned in the Ashland was a career-best on dirt, pass.
Ever So Clever 20*1 Fantasy, 4/14  
by Medaglia d'Oro   1st by 1 3/4, 83 MW: Took a decided step forward winning the Fantasy, needs an even bigger jump forward here.
Ghalia 20*1 Sunland Park Oaks, 3/26  
by Medaglia d'Oro   1st by a neck, 72 MW: She is 3 for 3 and in top hands but her Sunland Oaks win, her route debut, was uninspiring.
Lockdown 20*1 Gazelle, 4/8  
by First Defence   2nd by 13, 74 MW: Someone had to finish second in the Gazelle, yet to be worse than second, but isn't fast enough.
Sailor's Valentine 20*1 Ashland, 4/8  
by Mizzen Mast   1st by 1/2, 77 MW: Was a major surprise in the Ashland, which was run in extremely slow time, would shock again.
Tequilita 20*1 Gulfstream Park Oaks, 4/1
by Union Rags   2nd by 4 1/4, 82 MW: Soundly beaten second in the GP Oaks, but is subtlely improving, has a bomber chance for part.
Chanel's Legacy 30*1 Fantasy, 4/14  
by Dominus   2nd by 1 3/4, 80 MW: A duplicate of her second in the Fantasy wouldn't be good enough to contend in this event.
Yorkiepoo Princess 30*1 Gazelle, 4/8  
by Kantharos   8th by 35 3/4, 40 MW: Won three straight stakes before her most recent debacle, but is a distinct outsider here.