Kentucky Oaks Day stakes picks

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Churchill Downs rolls out the carpet for the blockbuster Kentucky Oaks Day card Friday in Louisville. Coady Photography.

All the preliminaries are over. Say farewell to 502uesday, Champions Day and (aghast) Thurby. The big time starts Friday with the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs.

The stars will be out Friday, with a glistening undercard leading up to the 150th renewal of the Oaks. Worth $1.5 million and so much more, the Oaks attracted an overflow field led by Tarifa, Just F Y I, Leslie’s Rose and Thorpedo Anna and promises to pack a punch. We’ll be watching the weather – as always in the spring in Kentucky – and hopefully it won’t materialize the way it often does. Again, welcome to springtime in the Bluegrass. Just pack a poncho if you’re heading out.

The handicappers are back for another Triple Crown season and Oaks Day leads off the first of six classic weekend’s where they take their best swings. We might change it up a bit by the time we reach the end of the Triple Crown road, with the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival being a “home” game for our team from The Saratoga Special. But until then, here are the stakes picks for Friday, May 3 at Churchill Downs. Enjoy and good luck.

Fasig-Tipton La Troienne Stakes (G1). $1 million, fillies and mares, 4-year-olds and up, 1 1/16 miles. Post time 12:43 p.m. ET.

Opening stakes on the card and what a blockbuster. Champions Idiomatic and Pretty Mischievous and graded stakes winners Xigera, Taxed and Dorth Vader. Settle in and enjoy. This is a big one.

John Shapazian: Idiomatic, Xigera, Pretty Mischievous.
Rob Whitlock: Idiomatic, Pretty Mischievous, Xigera.
Paul Halloran: Pretty Mischievous, Xigera, Idiomatic.
Sean Clancy: Idiomatic, Pretty Mischievous, Xigera.
Jessica Paquette: Pretty Mischievous, Idiomatic, Dorth Vader.
Alec DiConza: Idiomatic, Pretty Mischievous, Free Like A Girl.
Tom Law: Idiomatic, Pretty Mischievous, Xigera.
Charles Bedard: Idiomatic, Xigera, Pretty Mischievous.
Joe Clancy: Idiomatic, Pretty Mischievous, Xigera.

Unbridled Sidney Stakes presented by Resolute Racing (G3). $400,000, fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up, 5 1/2 furlongs, turf. Post time 1:26.

Ova Charged puts four-race win streak on the line and ventures back into open company following blowout victory against Louisiana-breds. Forecast doesn’t look great so likely soft ground, or at the least a cut in the turf, for the field of 10 to negotiate. Stone Silent brings her own win streak for Brian Lynch, Tony Ann makes first start since last year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. Ag Bullet, winner of the Grade 3 Monrovia, reportedly not expected to run in favor of Saturday’s Distaff Turf Mile.

John: Ag Bullet, Ova Charged, Stone Silent.
Rob: Ova Charged, Miss Speedy, Secret Money.
Paul: Secret Money, Elm Drive, Tony Ann.
Sean: Ag Bullet, Elm Drive, Stone Silent.
Jessica: Ova Charged, Secret Money, Stone Silent.
Alec: Elm Drive, Ag Bullet, Ova Charged.
Tom: Stone Silent, Ova Charged, Tony Ann.
Charles: Ova Charged, Tony Ann, Stone Silent.
Joe: Medalla Match, Ag Bullet, Stone Silent.

Alysheba Stakes presented by TwinSpires (G2). $750,000, 4-year-olds and up, 1 1/16 miles. Post time 2:09.

Field of 10 led by First Mission, Grade 1 winner Tapit Trice, Claiming Crown Jewel winner Money Supply and familiar rivals Il Miracolo and Tumbarumba go two turns for a big purse. First Mission comes in off sharp sore in Grade 3 Essex Handicap at Oaklawn Park while Tapit Trice, seventh in last year’s Kentucky Derby, makes first start since finishing third in the 2023 Travers.

John: First Mission, Tapit Trice, Money Supply.
Rob: Il Miracolo, Tapit Trice, Trademark.
Paul: First Mission, Tumbarumba, Trademark.
Sean: First Mission, Tapit Trice, Tumbarumba. 
Jessica: Il Miracolo, First Mission, Pipeline.
Alec: First Mission, Trademark, Money Supply.
Tom: First Mission, Tapit Trice, Money Supply.
Charles: First Mission, Trademark, Tapit Trice.
Joe: Tapit Trice, First Mission, Trademark.

Modesty Stakes presented by Derby City Gaming & Hotel (G3). $400,000, fillies and mares, 4-year-olds and up, 1 1/8 miles, turf. Post time 3:03.

Graded stakes for fillies and mares on the grass and no runners trained by Chad Brown. You read that correct. Strange as it seems, it happens occasionally. Heavenly Sunday, winner of the off-the-turf Grade 3 Mrs. Revere last fall, makes first start of the year for Brad Cox. Surprisingly, second in two major grass stakes at Gulfstream, shortens up and could get huge weekend for Repole Stable off to a quick start.

John: Heavenly Sunday, Aspen Grove, Surprisingly.
Rob: Sparkle Blue, Queens Command, Surprisingly.
Paul: Aspen Grove, Mouffy, Surprisingly
Sean: Mouffy, Aspen Grove, Sparkle Blue.
Jessica: Sparkle Blue, Mouffy, Forever After All.
Alec: Surprisingly, Mouffy, Sparkle Blue.
Tom: Surprisingly, Heavenly Sunday, Caroline Street.
Charles: Surprisingly, Forever After All, Sparkle Blue.
Joe: Sparkle Blue, Be Your Best, Aspen Grove.

Eight Belles Stakes presented by Sysco (G2). $600,000, fillies, 3-year-olds, 7 furlongs. Post time 4:04.

Stablemates Impel and Denim And Pearls look like standouts among the dozen entered. Impel finished third in Grade 1 Ashland last time out while Denim And Pearls blasted field in Grade 2 Beaumont, both at Keeneland for Brad Cox. Several others in the field were hopeful of a Kentucky Oaks bid but came up short in preps. Shortening up might help them, including multiple New York-bred stakes winner My Mane Squeeze.

John: Denim And Pearls, My Mane Squeeze, Impel.
Rob: Denim And Pearls, Tanya Showers, Accommodate Eva.
Paul: Impel, Denim And Pearls, Accommodate Eva.
Sean: Denim And Pearls, Impel, Trial.
Jessica: Impel, Denim And Pearls, My Mane Squeeze.
Alec: Denim And Pearls, Haliana’s Forte, All Things Go.
Tom: Impel, Denim And Pearls, My Mane Squeeze.
Charles: Denim And Pearls, Asternia, Impel.
Joe: Denim And Pearls, Halina’s Forte, Impel.

Edgewood Stakes presented by TwinSpires (G2). $600,000, fillies, 3-year-olds, 1 1/16 miles, turf. Post time 4:51.

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf winner Hard To Justify makes her anticipated sophomore debut. Daughter of Justify won that at a price she probably won’t be again in her career. Dynamic Pricing, the “other” Chad Brown runner, needs to improve off dull effort at Tampa Bay Downs, while Bucho bids to add to her win in the Grade 2 Appalachian last time out. Potential “Name of the Day” Mo Fox Given, second to Buchu last time, also deserves a look. 

John: Hard To Justify, Kalispera, Buchu.
Rob: Hard To Justify, Buchu, Simply In Front.
Paul: Buchu, Pounce, Hard To Justify.
Sean: Buchu, Hard To Justify, Dancing N Dixie.
Jessica: Mo Fox Given, Hard To Justify, Scalable.
Alec: Buchu, Pink Polkadots, Hard To Justify.
Tom: Hard To Justify, Dancing N Dixie, Dynamic Pricing.
Charles: Way To Be Marie, Dynamic Pricing, Hard To Justify.
Joe: Buchu, Hard To Justify, Dynamic Pricing.

Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1). $1.5 million, fillies, 3-year-olds, 1 1/8 miles. Post time 5:51.

The headliner of the day, and another salty renewal with champion Just F Y I, blowout Ashland winner Leslie’s Rose, blowout Fantasy winner Thorpedo Anna, Fair Grounds Oaks winner Tarifa and highly regarded Ways And Means leading the field. Our Pretty Woman drew into the field from the outside after Thursday’s scratch of Tapit Jenallie and she could factor in the pace. Just F Y I, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, no doubt will move forward off her lone start of the season when second to Leslie’s Rose in the Grade 1 Ashland last time. Ways And Means, still looking for her first stakes win off a second in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Oaks to fellow Kentucky Oaks runner Power Squeeze, will appreciate the stretch out.

John: Tarifa, Thoredo Anna, Ways And Means.
Rob: Tarifa, Thorpedo Anna, Leslie’s Rose.
Paul: Just F Y I, Tarifa, Ways And Means
Sean: Just F Y I, Tarifa, Leslie’s Rose.
Jessica: Just F Y I, Tarifa, Ways And Means.
Alec: Thorpedo Anna, Our Pretty Woman, Tarifa.
Tom: Just F Y I, Ways And Means, Leslie’s Rose.
Charles: Tarifa, Just F Y I, Leslie’s Rose.
Joe: Just F Y I, Ways And Means, Tarifa.