By Steve Sherack
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Godolphin homebred Wet Paint (Blame), an impressive come-from-behind winner in three straight while sweeping the Oaklawn Park series for 3-year-old fillies headed by the GIII Fantasy S. Apr. 1, was tabbed as the 5-2 morning-line favorite for Friday's GI Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs. Conditioned by two-time Kentucky Oaks-winning trainer Brad Cox, Wet Paint was assigned post seven in the full field of 14. Flavien Prat will ride.
Cox will also saddle impressive Bourbonette Oaks heroine and 4-1 second-choice Botanical (Medaglia d'Oro) (post six), who tries dirt for the first time; and GII Fair Grounds Oaks third-place finisher The Alys Look (Connect) (post two; 15-1).
Cox won the 2018 Oaks with Monomoy Girl and the 2020 Oaks with Shedaresthedevil.
“I thought it was a good draw for all of these fillies,” Cox said. “Botanical and Wet Paint are in the middle of the gate which is fine for both of them. The Alys Look is inside but can work out a trip from there.”
Southlawn (Pioneerof the Nile) (post four; 8-1) figures to receive plenty of tote support following a pair of visually impressive tallies for trainer Norm Casse this term, headed by a 3 1/4-length win over Pretty Mischievous (Into Mischief) (post 14; 10-1) in the Fair Grounds Oaks.
“I think it's a perfect draw,” Casse said. “I played baseball my entire life and I was No. 4. So, it's my lucky number.”
Champion Wonder Wheel (Into Mischief) (post five; 12-1), trained by Norm's father Mark Casse, looks to get back on track following a head-scratching sixth in the GI Ashland S. at Keeneland.
The gone-too-soon Arrogate, responsible for last year's Oak's winner Secret Oath, will be represented by GII Gulfstream Park Oaks heroine Affirmative Lady (Arrogate) (post 13; 10-1) and GII Santa Anita Oaks runner-up And Tell Me Nolies (Arrogate) (post nine; 15-1).
The Oaks field also includes last out 20-1 GI Central Bank Ashland S. upsetter Defining Purpose (Cross Traffic) (post 11; 12-1).
The 1 1/8-mile Kentucky Oaks serves as the highlight of Friday's 13-race program that begins at 10:30 a.m. The Oaks will go as the day's 11th race with a 5:51 p.m. post time.
From the rail out, the complete field for the Kentucky Oaks with morning-line odds:
1-Mimi Kakushi (City of Light) (20-1)
2-The Alys Look (Connect) (15-1)
3-Gambling Girl (Dialed In) (15-1)
4-Southlawn (Pioneerof the Nile) (8-1)
5-Wonder Wheel (Into Mischief) (12-1)
6-Botanical (Medaglia d'Oro) (4-1)
7-Wet Paint (Blame) (5-2)
8-Promiseher America (American Pharoah) (30-1)
9-And Tell Me Nolies (Arrogate) (15-1)
10-Flying Connection (Nyquist) (15-1)
11-Defining Purpose (Cross Traffic) (12-1)
12-Dorth Vader (Girvin) (20-1)
13-Affirmative Lady (Arrogate) (10-1)
14-Pretty Mischievous (Into Mischief) (10-1)