After months of anticipations, the 2013 Kentucky Derby is just a couple of days away. But first, it's time for the fillies to take center stage in Friday's Kentucky Oaks. Below are the Staff Picks for the Oaks and Friday's under card stakes races. We've each selected our top pick and one "odds play" and, in some cases, those are both the same horse.
We'll be back on Friday with our Derby day selections.
|Race||JP Top Pick||Siva&Bale3 Top Pick||Matt Top Pick||TFTribe Top Pick|
|LaTroienne||3-More Chocolate||4-Believe You Can||4-Believe You Can||4-Believe You Can|
|Edgewood||10-Wave Theory||10-Wave Theory||4-Judy In Disguise||3-Kitten's Dumplings|
|Eight Belles||3-Blueeyesintherein||9-So Many Ways||14-Calistoga||8-Gold Medal Dancer|
|Alysheba||9-Cuber Secret||9-Cyber Secret||9-Cyber Secret||9-Cyber Secret|
|American Turf||4-Noble Tune||5-War Dancer||12-Redwood Kitten||4-Noble Tune|
|Kentucky Oaks||11-Close Hatches||8-Dreaming of Julia||4-Unlimited Budget||11-Close Hatches|
|Race||JP Odds Play||Siva&Bale3 Odds Play||Matt Odds Play||TFTribe Odds Play|
|LaTroienne||2-Authenticity||3-More Chocolate||2-Authenticity||1-Imposing Grace|
|Edgewood||5-Birdlover||7-Emotional Kitten||7-Emotional Kitten||2-Broken Spell|
|Eight Belles||4-Sittin At The Bar||10-Irish Lute||3-Blueeyesintherein||8-Gold Medal Dancer|
|Alysheba||2-Laugh Track||7-Macho Macho||7-Macho Macho||7-Macho Macho|
|American Turf||1-Anyriderill Do||3-Channel Isle||12-Redwood Kitten||11-Joelito|
|Kentucky Oaks||6-Princess of Sylmar||7-Pure Fun||11-Close Hatches||7-Pure Fun|
As for a method to our madness, below is Siva&Bale3's reasoning behind his selections:
Overall: Believe You Can--I liked her in last year's Oaks and have a hard time believing (no pun intended) that she won't fire once more on top. Will sit the "Churchill" trip 3 wide of the 1 and 2 if it goes to plan.
Longshot: More Chocolate--Her dirt starts at Santa Anita were pretty good and she had no chance chasing Joyful Victory around on a merry-go-round in the Santa Margarita. Likely my win bet if she's 6-1 or better at the window. The 1,2,4 and 5 could go too fast early on to help her cause.
Overall: Wave Theory--Leparoux on the lawn with a Smart Strike filly after an underrated bad trip in the Ashland chasing Emollient's shadow. She can take advantage of early burn-out speed horses.
Longshot: Emotional Kitten--Gets Elvis Trujillo aboard, who rides somewhat regularly for Wesley Ward. Closed impressively her last out, though Joel Rosario has NBA Jam flames shooting out of his saddle at the moment and Joel picks up Kitten's Dumplings instead in here. Like her as a price horse and for having won on sand-based turf at Keeneland last out.
Eight Belles (used to be the La Troienne way back when)
Overall: So Many Ways--Gets Gomez and first Amoss. Can sit just behind the burn-out speed early at 7/8, a distance she won at when winning last year's Spinaway. Won't be favored, which is abnormal for her.
Longshot: Irish Lute--Dallas Stewart is a local CD guy that has someone who can close cutting back from 2 turns and she has 1 win and 1 2nd in 2 starts at Churchill. A dark horse candidate for exotics more than anything else, thanks to 3 seconds in 5 starts.
Overall: Cyber Secret--He looks pretty good from his Oaklwan form of late. Oaklawn was seahorse-slow most of the meet and he managed to break 1:50 at 1 1/8, which I like. Has the 1992 Derby winning trainer who doesn't have as many starts, but is 25% on the year (half the wins coming from Cyber Secret himself).
Longshot: Macho Macho--He won on the undercard last year on Derby Day impressively. He also coughed up a West Virginia Derby win after Hansen went nuts early on. Macho Uno horses tend to like Churchill like their daddy did in 2000--Macho Again won the Foster in 2007 and Macho Macho is 1/2 there. He won't be 5/1 with all the talent in this race, I don't think.
Overall/Longshot: I'll Call--Graham Motion usually doesn't go all whoever owned Toccet and run a horse over his head after a good maiden win. He's also 24% first cocktail/Lasix. Augustin Stables usually does well with their grass horses, and I'm not sold on the stakes runners in the field. Looking to swing for the fences with Prado/Motion and I'll Call here. Note: I'll Call was cross-entered on Thursday's card. Should he scratch, my American Turf pick(s) are War Dancer (regular pick) and Channel Isle (long shot).
Kentucky Oaks (feature)
Overall: Dreaming of Julia--As much as Gulfstream can lead to romps at 2 turns, this one looked legitimate a la Rachel Alexandra's stomping in the 2009 Oaks. She lost to Beholder w/o Lasix on a speed track in last year's Juv. Fillies and was a bit short her first back at Gulfstream, but otherwise has been stellar. That, and my dad and I having a 16-1 win bet on her in futures, makes her the pick to click.
Longshot: Pure Fun--This pick is also somewhat futures related, as we have her in futures exactas with DoJ. She ran lights out in a mile race at CD last year at two and has spun her wheels so far, but she appears to be better on the dirt, as her dad won one of the last dirt Kentucky Cups. If the race falls apart, she could even win. Daddy sired Pure Clan, who ran 3rd in the '08 Oaks before winning 2 G1s on turf. I will probably lean pretty heavily to her and DoJ in most of my plays. Might not hit them that hard at the window the day of, since the future pools have DoJ at $35/win and the exactas at $250-300 either way. More likely, I'd bet Pure Fun to win as a saver in case DoJ flops.