When the 14-horse field for the May 3rd Kentucky Oaks (G1) is drawn next Monday, it will feature nearly an entire gate full of Kentucky-bred 3-year-old fillies in the $1.25 million Race for the Lillies.
As the fillies have made their way through the winter and spring prep races, Kentucky-breds have won nearly every key prep as well.
The top West Coast filly Bellafina will likely carry favoritism into the Oaks after sweeping the Santa Ynez (G2), Las Virgenes (G2) and Santa Anita Oaks (G1). A three-time graded stakes winner at two as well, Bellafina’s only stakes loss came in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) last November at Churchill Downs. Bellafina was bred by JSM Equine, LLC and sold for $800,000 to her owner Kaleem Shah at the 2018 Fasig-Tipton March Sale of 2-year-olds.
Jaywalk, who defeated Bellafina in the Breeders’ Cup en route to being named the Champion 2-year-old filly after winning four of five starts, will be seeking to start a new winning streak in the Oaks after placing third in the Ashland S. (G1) at Keeneland. Owned by D. J. Stable and Cash is King LLC, Jaywalk was a $190,000 purchase and has banked $1,444,000, the most in the Oaks field for the gray filly bred by Gainesway Thoroughbreds.
Other key Oaks prep winners likely to start are Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) winner Champagne Anyone, who was bred by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings; dominant Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) winner Street Band, a homebred for Larry and Cindy Jones and Ray Francis; Lady Apple, bred by KatieRich Farms, who rides a three-race win streak into the Oaks after taking Oaklawn Park’s Fantasy S. (G3); Restless Rider, another Stonestreet-bred filly who barely missed winning the Ashland in her first start of 2019; and Serengeti Empress, the Rachel Alexandra (G2) winner who was bred by Tri Eques Bloodstock. She also won the Pocahontas S. (G2) last November at Churchill Downs by nearly 20 lengths.
The 145th Kentucky Oaks runs on Friday, May 3rd, while post positions will be be drawn for the entire day’s stakes-filled card on Monday, April 29th.