A competitive field of 14 fillies, topped by Kentucky-breds Echo Zulu, the reigning Eclipse Champion 2-Year-Old Filly of 2021, and Ashland Stakes (G1) winner Nest are set to do battle over 1 1/8 miles in the $1,250,000 Kentucky Oaks (G1) on Friday, May 6, at Churchill Downs.
Nest, campaigned by Repole Stable and Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, has been installed as the 5-2 morning-line favorite. Trained by Todd Pletcher, the daughter of Curlin has won her last three starts—all stakes—dating back to last season. She won the Demoiselle Stakes (G2) to conclude her juvenile season and this year has won both of her starts at three, taking the Suncoast Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs in February and most recently the Ashland Stakes at Keeneland.
Bred in Kentucky by Ashview Farm and Colts Neck Stables, Nest is produced from the A.P. Indy mare Marion Ravenwood, and she was a $350,000 graduate of the Keeneland September Sale.
Echo Zulu is undefeated in her sparkling career thus far for L and N Racing and Winchell Thoroughbreds. The daughter of Gun Runner is perfect in five lifetime starts for trainer Steve Asmussen and she won her only start of the season, leading gate to wire to win the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) on March 26. She is a three-time Grade 1 winner, having registered wins in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1), the Frizette Stakes (G1), and the Spinaway Stakes (G1).
Bred in the Bluegrass by Betz/J. Betz/Burns/CHNNHK/Magers/CoCo Equine/Ramsby, Echo Zulu is out of the Menifee mare Letgomyecho. Echo Zulu sold for $300,000 at the Keeneland September Sale and she has amassed earnings of $1,720,000.
Another leading Oaks contender is Kentucky-bred Kathleen O. Campaigned by Winngate Stables LLC, the dark bay or brown filly is perfect in four lifetime starts for trainer Shug McGaughey. The daughter of Upstart had a productive stay in Florida, winning the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) and the Davona Dale Stakes (G2) en route to earnings of $379,730.
Bred by Gainesway Thoroughbreds and Bridlewood Farm, Kathleen O. is produced from the Blame mare Quaver. She was a $275,000 graduate of last year’s OBS Spring Sale.
Kentucky-bred Secret Oath enters the Oaks off a game third-place finish to the boys in the Arkansas Derby (G1) at Oaklawn Park. Prior to that stellar effort, she won the Honeybee Stakes (G3) by 7 ½ lengths and the Martha Washington Stakes by 7 ¼ lengths for trainer D. Wayne Lukas. Luis Saez climbs aboard for the Oaks, replacing Luis Contreras.
The daughter of Arrogate is out of the Quiet American mare Absinthe Minded, and she was bred in Kentucky by Briland Farm and Robert and Stacy Mitchell. Secret Oath boasts a record of 7-4-0-2 and she has banked $590,167.
Post time for the Kentucky Oaks is 5:51 p.m.