TDN Kentucky Oaks Top 10 for April 1



The picture for the GI Kentucky Oaks might look a lot different late Saturday afternoon than it does at the present. There are four races on tap-the GIII Gazelle S., the GI Ashland S., the GIII Fantasy and the GII Santa Anita Oak–that will feature more than a dozen serious candidates for the last Friday in April. Five horses among our top 10 are slated to go.

Meanwhile, last weekend's action featured a win in the GII Gulfstream Park Oaks for Crazy Beautiful (Liam's Map) and a strong showing for runner-up Millefeuille (Curlin), who rebounded off a poor effort the in the GII Davona Dale S. At Turfway, the loaded Brad Cox barn had Adventuring (Pioneerof the Nile) primed for a winning effort in the Bourbonette Oaks.

1) TRAVEL COLUMN (FrostedSwingit, by Victory Gallop)
'TDN Rising Star' O-OXO Equine. B-Mr. & Mrs. Bayne Welker, Jr. & Denali Stud (KY). T-Brad Cox. Sales History: $850,000 ylg '19 FTSAUG. Lifetime Record: MGSW & GISP, 5-3-1-1, $517,184.
Last Start: 1st GII Fair Grounds Oaks, FG, Mar. 20
Accomplishments Include: 1st GII Golden Rod S., CD, Nov. 28, 2nd GII Rachel Alexandra S. presented by Fasig-Tipton, FG, Feb. 13, 3rd GI Darley Alcibiades S., KEE, Oct. 2
Next Start: GI Kentucky Oaks, CD, Apr. 30
Equineline PPs. KY Oaks Points: 132

The likely favorite for the Oaks, Travel Column is as solid as they come. Since winning the GII Golden Rod S. last fall at Churchill, she hasn't missed a beat and defeated rival Clairiere in another head-to-head match up in GII Fair Grounds Oaks. The Oaks will be her toughest test to date and she may have to improve a bit to win it. Ran a 90 Beyer in the Fair Grounds race, which may not be good enough to win the Oaks. She will attempt to become the fifth horse since 2008 to parlay a win in the Fair Grounds Oaks into a victory in the Kentucky Oaks. Cox and jockey Florent Geroux have teamed up to win two of the last three runnings of the Kentucky Oaks.

2) CLAIRIERE (CurlinCavorting, by Bernardini)
O/B-Stonestreet Stables (KY). T-Steve Asmussen. Lifetime Record: GSW, 4-2-2-0, $350,492.
Last Start: 2nd GII Fair Grounds Oaks, FG, Mar. 20
Accomplishments Include: 1st GII Rachel Alexandra S. presented by Fasig-Tipton, FG, Feb. 13, 2nd GII Golden Rod S., CD, Nov. 28
Next Start: GI Kentucky Oaks, CD, Apr. 30
Equineline PPs. KY Oaks Points: 94

If Clairiere has a flaw it is that she may be dependent on a fast early pace. Fifth early, she was a bit closer when finishing second behind Travel Column in the Fair Grounds Oaks, but still had left herself with too much to do. Perhaps, the extra sixteenth of the mile in the Oaks will be to her liking. Trainer Steve Asmussen will be looking for his third win in the Oaks and his first since Untapable (Tapit) in 2014. Should have a hungry rider. Through March 29, Joe Talamo was just 8 for 112 on the year (7.14%). With Travel Column having won two of her three meetings with Clairiere, she will likely need to run an improved race to win.

3) WILL'S SECRET (Will Take ChargeGirls Secret, by Giant's Causeway)
O/B-Willis Horton Racing (KY). T-Dallas Stewart. Lifetime Record: GSW, 6-3-0-2, $343,300.
Last Start: 1st GIII Honeybee S., OP, Mar. 6
Accomplishments Include: 1st Martha Washington S., OP, Jan. 30
Next Start: Possible for GIII Fantasy S., OP, Apr. 3
Equineline PPs. KY Oaks Points: 60

The story here is the jockey. Jon Court, 60, has been riding for 41 years and broke in in 1980 at Centennial Park in Colorado, which hasn't run a race since 1983. Court picked up the mount for a maiden race back in October and has been there ever since. Got a very favorable trip in the GIII Honeybee S., where she got the lead after posting soft fractions. Rather than stay at Oaklawn for the Fantasy, trainer Dallas Stewart has entered his filly in the Ashland, which is looking like a very tough spot. Stewart won the Oaks in 2006 with Lemons Forever (Lemon Drop Kid). She is the first foal out of Girls Secret (Giant's Causeway), a winner of just one of six career starts.

4) MALATHAAT (CurlinDreaming of Julia, by A.P. Indy)
O-Shadwell Stable. B-Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings (KY). T-Todd Pletcher. Sales History: $1,050,000 ylg '19 KEESEP. Lifetime Record: GSW, 3-2-0-0, $172,150.
Last Start: 1st GII Demoiselle S., AQU, Dec. 5
Accomplishments Include: 'TDN Rising Star', 1st Tempted S., AQU, Nov. 6
Next Start: GI Central Bank Ashland S., KEE, Apr. 3
Equineline PPs. KY Oaks Points: 10

At long last, we will get to see Malathaat perform as a 3-year-old. She hasn't run since winning the GII Demoiselle S. on Dec. 5 at Aqueduct. Was supposed to start her 3-year-old campaign in the Davona Dale S., but came down with a minor problem, which caused trainer Todd Pletcher to go back to the drawing board. Is the 9-5 morning line favorite in the Ashland. Can a horse win a race as tough as the Oaks off of just one prep?

5) SIMPLY RAVISHING (Laoban–Four Wishes, by More Than Ready)
O-Harold Lerner, Magdalena Racing & Nehoc Stables.
B-Meg Levy (NY). T-Ken McPeek. Sales History: $50,000 ylg '19 FTKOCT. Lifetime Record: GISW, 5-3-0-0, $414,200.
Last Start: 4th GII Golden Rod S., CD, Nov. 28
Accomplishments Include: 1st GI Darley Alcibiades S., KEE,
Oct. 2, 1st P.G. Johnson S., SAR, Sept. 3
Next Start: GI Central Bank Ashland S., KEE, Apr. 3
Equineline PPs. KY Oaks Points: 13

Like Malathaat, she will be making her first start of 2021 in the Ashland, where she is the second choice in the line at 5-2. The New York-bred filly was brought around slowly by trainer Kenny McPeek, but has showed her sharpness in the mornings. She breezed a half-mile at Gulfstream in 46.53 on March 6. Had an up-and-down year in 2020, peaking with an easy win in the GI Alcibiades S. only to return with fourth-place finishes in the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies and the Golden Rod. In the GII Golden Rod, she was sent off at 7-10 and was beaten four lengths.

6) BEAUTIFUL GIFT (Medaglia d'OroSea Gift, by A.P. Indy)
O/B-Baoma Corporation (KY). T-Bob Baffert. Lifetime Record: GSW, 3-2-0-1, $99,600.
Last Start: 1st GIII Santa Ysabel S., SA, Mar. 7
Next Start: GII Santa Anita Oaks, SA, Apr. 3
Equineline PPs. KY Oaks Points: 50

Trainer Bob Baffert doesn't have nearly the ammunition for the Oaks that he has for the GI Kentucky Derby, but you can never count him out in a major race. She broke her maiden in October and then wasn't seen again until she won the GIII Santa Ysabel S. at Santa Anita on March 7. She goes next in the Santa Anita Oaks, where she will have had the benefit of a race. Baffert also has Kalypso (Brody's Cause) knocking on the door for the Oaks, but she may be better suited to shorter distances.

7) SEARCH RESULTS (FlatterCo Cola, by Candy Ride {Arg})
O-Klaravich Stables Inc. B-Machmer Hall (KY). T-Chad Brown. Sales History: $310,000 ylg '19 KEESEP. Lifetime Record: SW, 2-2-0-0, $161,500.
Last Start: 1st Busher Invitational S., AQU, Mar. 6
Next Start: GIII Gazelle S., AQU, Apr. 3
Equineline PPs. KY Oaks Points: 50

Trainer Chad Brown has been very patient with this daughter of Flatter. She didn't make her first start until January and after winning a maiden race she sat out nearly two months before resurfacing in the March 6 Busher Invitational. A win there put her on the map so far as possible Kentucky Oaks starters go. Has never run beyond a mile or around two turns, but her pedigree suggests that won't be a problem. Brown also has The Grass Is Blue (Broken Vow), but her stock fell when was third in the Busher.

8) CRAZY BEAUTIFUL (Liam's MapIndian Burn, by Indian Charlie)
O-Phoenix Thoroughbred III. B-Carolyn R. Vogel (KY). T-Ken McPeek. Sales History: $250,000 Ylg '19 FTKOCT. Lifetime Record: GSW & GISP, 7-3-3-0, $388,365.
Last Start: 1st GII Gulfstream Park Oaks, GP, Mar. 27
Accomplishments Include: 'TDN Rising Star', 1st Ellis Debutante S., ELP, Aug. 9, 2nd GI Darley Alcibiades S., KEE, Oct. 2, 2nd GII Davona Dale S., GP, Feb. 27, 2nd GIII Pocahontas S., CD, Sept. 3
Next Start: GI Kentucky Oaks, CD, Apr. 30
Equineline PPs. KY Oaks Points: 128

The group of Florida-based 3-year-old fillies wasn't particularly strong this year, so handicappers will have to evaluate what Crazy Beautiful was up against in her win in the Gulfastream Park Oaks. A $250,000 purchase at the 2019 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall yearling sale, she was a distant second in the GII Davona Dale and no doubt improved in what was her second start of the year. Plus, she did it impressively, closing from last after chasing slow early fractions. Kenny McPeek also won the 2020 Gulfstream Park Oaks with Swiss Skydiver (Daredevil), who finished second in the Kentucky Oaks.

9) WHOLEBODEMEISTER (Bodemeister–Wholelottashakin, by Scat Daddy)
O/B-Sabana Farm (KY). T-Juan Avila. Lifetime Record: GSW,
7-3-0-1, $175,922.
Last Start: 1st GII Davona Dale S., GP, Feb. 27
Next Start: GI Kentucky Oaks, CD, Apr. 30
Equineline PPs. KY Oaks Points: 52

Looks better after Crazy Beautiful came back to win the Gulfstream Park Oaks as she drilled that rival in the Davona Dale. But is still a tough read. She dominated in the Davone Dale, winning by 6 1/2 lengths at odds of 52-1. Before that, showed few signs that she might turn into a star. If the filly that won the Davona Dale shows up she is very much in the mix. But it's hard to have much faith in a horse who could be a one-race wonder.

10) ADVENTURING (Pioneerof the Nile–Questing {GB}, by Hard Spun)
O/B-Godolphin (KY). T-Brad Cox. Lifetime Record: SW, 4-2-1-1, $131,370.
Last Start: 1st Bourbonette Oaks, TP, Mar. 27
Next Start: GI Kentucky Oaks, CD, Apr. 30
Equineline PPs. KY Oaks Points: 50

Another tough read. She comes from the powerful Cox stable, has won two straight and looked good when winning the Bourbonette Oaks in her last start. But that win came over the Tapeta surfaced at Turfway and it's anyone's guess when it comes to whether or not she can beat top horses on dirt. Hails from the Godolphin stable, which has been on a tear all year. Definitely seems to be getting better with each start, but obviously hasn't faced the sort of top echelon fillies she will meet in the Oaks. With Geroux also riding Travel Column, she will need a new jockey at Churchill Downs.

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