'TDN Rising Star' Malathaat (Curlin), undefeated in four career starts and winner of her seasonal debut in the GI Central Bank Ashland S. at Keeneland Apr. 3, was made the 5-2 favorite from gate 10 on Mike Battaglia's morning line for Friday's 147th running of the GI Longines Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs.
One of three in the race for her outstanding sire, Malathaat–a daughter of 2013 Oaks fourth Dreaming of Julia (A.P. Indy)–defeated Millefeuille (Curlin, gate 14) in the GII Demoiselle S. last December and was very game in the Ashland, where she outfinished Pass the Champagne (Flatter, gate 5) by a head, with GIII Honeybee S. winner Will's Secret (Will Take Charge, gate 11) a distant third. The $1.05-million Keeneland September grad has the services of John Velazquez, who won the 2004 Oaks aboard the Todd Pletcher-trained Ashado (Saint Ballado). Pletcher is a three-time winner of the race.
The last two horses pulled by Churchill racing secretary Ben Huffman were a pair of fillies that got to know one another very well over the winter. 'TDN Rising Star' Travel Column (Frosted) was allotted post position six for trainer Brad Cox, who sent out Shedaresthedevil (Daredevil) to upset the COVID-delayed Oaks of 2020 last September. Travel Column defeated Clairiere (Curlin) by a length in last year's GII Golden Rod S. beneath the Twin Spires, but the Stonestreet runner exacted her revenge with a neck success over Travel Column in the GII Rachel Alexandra S. in February, but the latter reversed form comprehensively when last seen in the GII Fair Grounds Oaks. Florent Geroux, who was in the irons last year and for Monomoy Girl (Tapizar)'s tally in 2018, goes for a third win in four years on Travel Column, while Clairiere will leave from gate three for two-time Oaks-winning conditioner Steve Asmussen.
Chad Brown has yet to win an Oaks, but will have every chance to right that wrong with Klaravich Stables' Search Results (Flatter). The 3-1 morning-line second pick, also undefeated in three runs including a 2 3/4-length defeat of Maracuja (Honor Code) in the GIII Gazelle S. Apr. 3, will have to work out a trip from the 12 hole for Irad Ortiz, Jr.
Friday, Churchill Downs, post time: 5:51 p.m. ET
LONGINES KENTUCKY OAKS-GI, $1,250,000, 3yo, f, 1 1/8m
1 Pauline's Pearl (Tapit), Santana, Jr., Asmussen, 20-1
2 Maracuja (Honor Code), Carmouche, Atras, 20-1
3 Clairiere (Curlin), Gaffalione, Asmussen, 5-1
4 Crazy Beautiful (Liam's Map), Ortiz, McPeek, 15-1
5 Pass the Champagne (Flatter), Castellano, Weaver, 15-1
6 Travel Column (Frosted), Geroux, Cox, 3-1
7 Ava's Grace (Laoban), Cohen, Diodoro, 50-1
8 Moraz (Empire Maker), Prat, McCarthy, 30-1
9 Coach (Commissioner), Saez, Cox, 50-1
10 Malathaat (Curlin), Velazquez, Pletcher, 5-2
11 Will's Secret (Will Take Charge), Court, Stewart, 30-1
12 Search Results (Flatter), Irad Ortiz, Jr., Brown, 3-1
13 Competitive Speed (Competitive Edge), Landeros, Gonzalez, 50-1
14 Millefeuille (Curlin), Rosario, Mott, 20-1