By J.J. Hysell
Who are the most intriguing fillies in the lone Kentucky Oaks Future Wager? The pool opens Thursday at noon (ET) and closes at post time for the Santa Ysabel at Santa Anita, or 6 p.m., whichever comes first.
ARETHUSA (A.P. Indy) (20-1) – This is a filly who will only get better as the races get longer. She’s better on dirt and boasts the perfect running style for the 1 1/8-mile test on May 2. She is training consistently at Santa Anita and currently has two Oaks points.
BIRD MAKER (Empire Maker) (30-1) – Watch how this Ian Wilkes trainee does in Thursday’s route allowance at Gulfstream Park. She was distanced by Dame Dorothy, but that was on a sloppy Gulfstream track. Churchill’s main strip is a study in contrast, and this filly did very well there as a 2-year-old.
DAME DOROTHY (Bernardini) (12-1) – A Todd Pletcher-trained Pennsylvania-bred filly – sound familiar? She doesn’t have as much experience as Princess of Sylmar did at this juncture, but she’s done nothing wrong. She proved she is versatile and an off track won’t deter her.
HOUSE RULES (Distorted Humor) (20-1) – She’s on the outside class-wise, but the Davona Dale runner-up boasts an outstanding pedigree for the Churchill Downs surface.
JOINT RETURN (Include) (50-1) – She hasn’t faced the toughest company, an off track doesn’t suit her, but those are some nice odds for a filly who is 3 for 4 and has won at a route. In all of her wins she’s rallied from last to first and didn’t always get an easy fast pace.
ONLYFORYOU (Malibu Moon) (8-1) – Stingy odds but rightfully so as this looks like Todd Pletcher’s stable star in the filly ranks. Undefeated in four starts, she can stay steady on the lead or come from off the pace. The distance won’t be a question and she’s one of the classiest of the Oaks contenders with two graded stakes wins on a tough circuit.
PLEASE EXPLAIN (Curlin) (30-1) – My top under the radar Oaks filly and I think she’ll be live if she makes the race. She dominated the Suncoast Stakes and has improved from a learning 2-year-old into a professional. Her only “off” race was on synthetic, and it was still a good third. With that pedigree she should have no trouble with the distance. If she’s anywhere near these odds, this is one I’ll be playing for sure.
ROSALIND (Broken Vow) (20-1) – This long-striding filly takes a while to get going, but she’s always running well late. She’s set to make her 3-year-old debut in the allowance Thursday at Gulfstream Park that also features Bird Maker.
SWEET REASON (Street Sense) (20-1) – The Spinaway winner is working steadily for her 3-year-old debut. She’s a bit of a wild card as we haven’t seen her since the Breeders’ Cup, but she managed a good fourth in that race despite a lot of trouble. Solid pedigree for Churchill Downs.
UNBRIDLED FOREVER (Unbridled’s Song) (8-1) – The In the Money top-ranked Oaks filly awaits a big challenge in the Fair Grounds Oaks. She’s continued to train well since her Silverbulletday win. She’ll likely be coming into the Oaks off just two preps, but can’t ignore that made-for-the-race pedigree.
UNTAPABLE (Tapit) (6-1) – As with many Tapit fillies, she’s matured into her 3-year-old year and announced herself as one to be reckoned with in her Rachel Alexandra romp. Her best asset is her affinity for the Churchill Downs track, where she’ll feel right at home. If she wins the Fair Grounds Oaks and goes into the race on her toes, these odds will look like a dream.
ALL OTHER FILLIES (6-1) – Always a good bet, and doubt it will stand at a generous 6-1, but I think it’s very likely this year’s Oaks winner is on the pool list.