The Kentucky Oaks Top 10 for April 4

Tarifa | Hodges Photography


It's come down to the last few preps. An outstanding field will meet Friday at Keeneland in the GI Ashland S. Four horses on our Top 10 list will take part in that race. At Aqueduct, they'll be vying for a spot in the field for the GI Kentucky Oaks in the GIII Gazelle S. At Santa Anita, fillies will contest the GII Santa Anita Oaks, but the horse expected to be he heavy favorite, Kinza (Carpe Diem), is trained by Bob Baffert and is therefore ineligible to run in the Oaks. By Saturday evening, we should know who will be running in the Oaks and who the favorites will be.

Here's a look at the latest installment of our Kentucky Oaks Top Ten:

1) TARIFA (f, Bernardini–Kite Beach, by Awesome Again) O/B-Godolphin (KY); T-Brad Cox. Lifetime Record: 'TDN Rising Star', MGSW, 5-4-0-0, $518,925. Last start: WON Mar. 23 GII Fair Grounds Oaks. Kentucky Oaks Points: 150. Next Start:
GI Kentucky Oaks, CD, May 4.
If the Oaks were run today, Tarifa would be the favorite. She emerged this year for trainer Brad Cox and has won three straight races, including the GII Fair Grounds Oaks, Presented by Fasig-Tipton and the GII Rachel Alexandra S., Presented by Fasig-Tipton. She is good, seems to be getting better and no one is better with 3-year-old fillies than her trainer, Brad Cox. The only way she won't be the favorite is if stablemate Impel (Quality Road) puts on a show in the Ashland on Friday at Keeneland.
Tarifa's top Beyer, the 95 that she earned in the Fair Grounds Oaks is the best this year among all 3-year-old fillies.

2) IMPEL (f, Quality Road–Your Love, by Flatter) O/B-Juddmonte (Ky); T-Brad Cox. Lifetime Record: 'TDN Rising Star' 2-2-0-0, $115,200. Last Start: WON Oaklawn AOC, Mar. 3. Kentucky Oaks Points: 0. Next Start: GI Ashland S., KEE, April 5.
If Tarifa loses in the Oaks, it may only be because stablemate Impel is faster. She looked nothing less than sensational when winning a Mar. 3 allowance at Oaklawn by 8 1/2 lengths. She got a 91 Beyer that day. A Juddmonte homebred, she faces the acid test in the Ashland, which will be her stakes debut. She's the 2-1 morning-line favorite. But with just two starts under her belt, does she have enough seasoning? Is she ready to be tested by some of the best in the division? Those questions should be answered Friday and a win by Impel may make her the horse to beat on the first Friday in May.

3) THORPEDO ANNA (f, Fast Anna–Sataves, by Uncle Mo) O-Brookdale Racing, Inc., Mark Edwards, Judy B. Hicks & Magdalena Racing (Sherri McPeek); B-Judy Hicks (Ky); T-Kenneth McPeek. Sales history: $40,000 yrl '22 FTKOCT. Lifetime Record: GSW, 4-3-1-0, $584,363. Last Start: WON GII Fantasy S., Mar. 30. Kentucky Oaks Points: 105. Next Start: GI Kentucky Oaks, May 3.
This 'TDN Rising Star' cracks the list for the first time this year and lands on the No. 3 spot after her impressive win in the GII Fantasy S. at Oaklawn. A bargain buy at the 2022 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall yearling sale for $40,000, her breakthrough race was a Nov. 10 allowance at Churchill which she won by nine lengths, earning an 87 Beyer. She faltered a bit in her next start when finishing second in the GII Golden Rod S. as the odds-on favorite. But she roared back with the authoritative win in the Fantasy in what was her first start this year. Trainer Kenny McPeek has had a lot of success with yearling purchases in the neighborhood of $40,000. It looks like he has done it again.

4) JUST F Y I (f, Justify–Star Act, by Street Cry {Ire}) O/B-George Krikorian (Ky); T-Bill Mott. Lifetime Record: Ch. 2yo filly, GISW, 3-3-0-0, $1,317,750. Last start: WON Nov. 3 GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. Kentucky Oaks Points: 40. Next Start: GI Ashland S., KEE, April 5.
The champ is back. After being scratched from the GII Davona Dale S. because of a fever, she has been re-routed to the Ashland. With her coming off a five-month layoff and with the Oaks being the main goal, how ready will trainer Bill Mott have her? But the main question that remains is this: is she fast enough? Despite a 3-for-3 record last year, an Eclipse Award and a win in the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, her Beyer numbers suggest she's not quite as good as she looks on paper. She needs to step up her game, but there's no reason she can't do just that.

5) JODY'S PRIDE (f, American Pharoah–Jody's Song, by Scat Daddy) O-Parkland Tbreds & Sportsmen Stable; B-Mr. Steve Weston (Ky); T-J Abreu. Lifetime Record: MSW & GISP, 4-3-1-0, $590,250. Last start: WON Mar. 2 Busher S. Kentucky Oaks Points: 65. Next Start: GI Ashland S., KEE, April 5.
She's a little like Just F Y I. She doesn't run particularly fast, but she just keeps on winning. After finishing second and losing by just a neck to Just F Y I in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, she returned with an easy win over outclassed rivals in the Busher Invitational S. at Aqueduct. Her connections were going to keep her in New York for the Gazelle, but changed their minds and have wound up instead in the Ashland. To show how tough the Ashland is, she is 8-1 on the morning line. She would have been an odds-on favorite in the Gazelle, so it's a bit puzzling that the connections wound up going to Keeneland instead of staying in New York.

6) POWER SQUEEZE (f, Union Rags–Callmethesqueeze, by Awesome Again) O-Lea Farms, LLC; B-Forging Oaks Farm, LLC (Ky); T-Jorge Delgado. Sales history: $50,000 yrl '22 KEESEP; $90,000 2yo '23 OBSAPR. Lifetime Record: GSW, 6-4-1-0, $337,450. Last start: WON GII Gulfstream Park Oaks, Mar. 2. Kentucky Oaks Points: 120. Next Start: GI Kentucky Oaks, May 3.
She came into the GII Gulfstream Park Oaks riding a three-race winning streak, which included a pair of stakes races. But she was totally overlooked Saturday at Gulfstream, going off at 11-1. She beat the 1-2 favorite and much hyped Ways and Means (Practical Joke), winning by a neck. She was ridden in the Gulfstream Park Oaks by Daniel Centeno. It will be interesting to see if the journeyman keeps the mount. After sprinting earlier in her career, she is 3-for-3 around two turns. Don't go to sleep on this one.

7) KOPION (f, Omaha Beach–Galloping Ami, by Victory Gallop) O-Spendthrift Farm; B-Tall Oaks Farm (Ky); T-Richard Mandella. Sales history: $270,000 yrl '22 KEESEP. Lifetime Record: GSW, 3-2-1-0, $116,600. Last start: 2nd Feb. 10 GIII Las Virgenes S. Kentucky Oaks Points: 20. Next Start: GII Santa Anita Oaks, SA, April 6.
May be the only California-based filly to make it to the Kentucky Oaks. She goes Saturday in the GII Santa Anita Oaks and will once again face her nemesis, Kinza. If the race runs to form, Kinza will win and Kopion will be second. That would give Kopion enough points to make it into the field for the Oaks, where she could be in the neighborhood of 15-1. Then again, if Kinza is as good as some people think, doesn't Kopion deserve a lot of credit for finishing second behind her?

8) WAYS AND MEANS (f, Practical Joke–Strong Incentive, Warrior's Reward) O/B-Klaravich Stables (Ky); T-Chad Brown. Lifetime Record: GISP, 'TDN Rising Star,' 3-1-2-0, $165,750. Last start: 2nd Mar. 30 GII Gulfstream Park Oaks. Kentucky Oaks Points: 50. Next Start: GI Kentucky Oaks, May 3.
She romped in her maiden debut at Saratoga and then finished second in the GI Spinaway S., despite the fact she took a chip off her right ankle and was lame afterward. That meant a long trip to the sidelines before she launched her comeback in the Gulfstream Park Oaks where she did everything right but win. She was steadied going into the first turn, raced wide throughout and then made what appeared to be a winning move in the stretch. She just ran out of gas in the final sixteenth, which is perfectly understandable. Trainer Chad Brown is eyeing the Oaks, but says he's worried his filly won't have enough points to make it into the field of 14.

9) OUR PRETTY WOMAN (f, Medaglia d'Oro–Dazzletown, by Speightstown) O-Courtlandt Farms; B-Woods Edge Farm, LLC and Godolphin; T-Steve Asmussen. Sales History: $900,000 yrl '22 KEESEP. Lifetime Record: GSP, 3-2-1-0, $150,200. Last start: 2nd Mar. 23 GII Fair Grounds Oaks. Kentucky Oaks Points: 50. Next Start: GI Kentucky Oaks, CD, May 3.
A $900,000 yearling buy, the daughter of Medaglia d'Oro gave divisional leader Tarifa all she could handle in the Fair Grounds Oaks. She battled every step of the way before finishing second by three-quarters of a length. It was only her third start and first in a stakes, so she has plenty of room for improvement. She's quick from the gate and may be the one setting the pace in the Oaks. If she gets a good trip, there's no reason why she can't win.

10) LESLIE'S ROSE (f, Into Mischief–Wildwood Rose {Ire}, by Galileo {Ire}) O-Whisper Hill Farm; B-John D. Gunther & Eurowest Bloodstock Services (Ky); T-Todd Pletcher. Sales history: $1,150,000 yrl '22 KEESEP. Lifetime Record: 'TDN Rising Star', GSP, 3-2-0-1, $89,950. Last start: 3rd Mar. 2 GII Davona Dale S. Kentucky Oaks Points: 15. Next Start: GI Ashland S., KEE, April 5.
A $1.15-million purchase at Keeneland September by Into Mischief, she is 2-for-3 lifetime. This Todd Pletcher trainee has the potential to be a very good horse. She just needs to prove it in stakes company. At odds of 3-10, she was third in the Davona Dale in her stakes debut and was beaten 2 1/4 lengths. It wasn't a terrible effort, but she was somewhat of a disappointment. She must run well in the Ashland and pick up some points in order to earn a spot in the Oaks field.

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