The Derby is the most anticipated race of the year. However, this year it may fail to be the top race to take place on the first weekend in May. That spot may belong to the Kentucky Oaks.
The Kentucky Oaks: A Historic Race
The Kentucky Oaks is one of the longest running consecutive sporting events in the world. The race was founded by Meriwether Lewis Clark Jr., grandson of the William Clark of Lewis and Clark fame, in 1875. Along with the Kentucky Derby, the events are the longest consecutively held sporting events in American history.
Kentucky Derby Weekend
The Oaks is always held on the day before the Kentucky Derby. The race serves as the Friday feature on Derby weekend. While much of the attention is squarely on the boys race, the Kentucky Oaks has provided the racing word with some wonderful stars. Names like Malathaat, Monomoy Girl, Rachel Alexandra, Davona Dale, and Alcibiades took down the crown of Oaks champion.
Last year the race gave us one of the best stretch drives of the 2021 racing season as Malathaat edge Search Results to the wire.
Kentucky Oaks 2022: The Best is Yet to Come?
As great as some of the recent renditions have been, the 2022 Kentucky Oaks appears poised to be a race that could produce several future superstars in the female division of horse racing. Here’s a look at the major players for the 2022 Kentucky Oaks.
- Rank # 1
- 150 Total Points
- $335,730 Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
This runner is 4 for 4 and looked like an absolute monster winning the Gulfstream Park Oaks easily. This one looks really really good.
- Rank # 2
- 130 Total Points
- $1,665,000 Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
This one will see Kathleen O’s 4 wins and raise it 1. The big question in the Juvenile Fillies last year was whether you prefer this one or JuJu’s Map. Since then this one has romped in back to back graded dirt routes.
- Rank # 3
- 120 Total Points
- $215,500 Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
Nest turned the grade 1 Ashland into a no contest. Destroying the field easily. This one looks like a worthy adversary to complete the three headed monster at the top of the points standings, but the talented fillies don’t stop here.
- Rank # 4
- 114 Total Points
- $508,050 Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
This runner had been 2nd or 3rd in her previous 3 stakes effort, but broke through in the grade 3 Fantasy at Oaklawn. The impressive part was that she did it all on the lead. While that is typically good in dirt racing it has been a really tough way to win at Oaklawn this winter.
- Rank # 5
- 108 Total Points
- $328,000 Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
Desert Dawn pulled the massive upset in the Santa Anita Oaks beating heavy favorite Adare Manor. The race was an impressive stalk and pounce trip. The win was the first since breaking her maiden back in August.
- Rank # 6
- 101 Total Points
- $590,500 Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
This filly was relegated to third choice in the Gazelle. Despite reasonable fractions in that race she wore down rivals up the rail and ended up winning by over a length as rivals failed to match her closing kick.
- Rank # 7
- 94 Total Points
- $100,000 Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
Venti Valentine was the pace setter in the Gazelle which was won by Nostalgic. The filly just didn’t have the ability to kick clear when it mattered and that has to be a concern when looking at the Oaks field.
- Rank # 8
- 80 Total Points
- $436,707 Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
Kentucky Oaks? This runner was flirting with the idea of running in the Kentucky Derby. She doesn’t have as many points but this one looks like yet another special talent. Despite being 8th she may end up being the best horse in the group at the end of the career.
Goddess of Fire
- Rank #9
- 62 Total Points
- $154,375 Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
She was a well beaten 2nd to Kathleen O. in the Gulfstream Park Oaks. It’s hard to see this one turning the table in the Kentucky Oaks, but she is yet another talented runner in this group.
- Rank # 10
- 60 Total Points
- $516,700 Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
This runner rounds out the top 10 point getters. She has been beaten by several of her likely foes here and is the least exciting of the top 10 earners in what is shaping up to be an absolutely stacked race.
The Rest of the Kentucky Oaks Field
- Rank # 11
- 57 Total Points
- $369,525 Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
This runner won the Pocahontas in September. She has failed to win since, but has put up some decent efforts.
- Rank # 12
- 52 Total Points
- $144,700 Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
She lost to Nest and there’s no shame in that. Her previous defeat came to Kathleen O. Both respectable defeats except for the fact that she will now have to face both foes in this spot.
- Rank # 13
- 51 Total Points
- $154,320 Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
This runner has wins at Ellis Park, Delta Downs, and Turfway Park. That form hardly screams Kentucky Oaks winner. This one seems up against it.
- Rank # 14
- 50 Total Points
- $180,000 Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
This foreign invader comes by way of Meydan race course where she has started the career an impressive 4/4. The question one has to answer with this one is how much quality exists in the female division of the Middle East. There isn’t a lot of comparable form so it is all kind of a guessing game.
- Rank # 15
- 41 Total Points
- $89,000 Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
This runner finished third last time out in the Gazelle. While Nostaligic’s win the race was quality, the race didn’t seem to have the same impressiveness as some of the other preps. Prior to that this runner’s last win was at 3/4 of a mile in the Ruthless. This might be too big an ask here.
- Rank # 16
- 40 Total Points
- $180,000 Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
Chandelier winner Ain’t Easy has failed to reproduce the result in two subsequent Santa Anita prep races. This one hasn’t found the next girl in her three year old season.
- Rank # 17
- 30 Total Points
- $237,480 Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
Bubble Rock came out of the Yuugiri race and failed to pass in the lane. That’s concerning since that trip has been favored at the Oaklawn meet.
- Rank # 18
- 30 Total Points
- $54,200 Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
This runner was the disappointment of the Gazelle for me. She sat close throughout and when they turned for home she just didn’t menace. That’s hard to swallow heading into the Kentucky Oaks.
Awake At Midnyte
- Rank # 19
- 24 Total Points
- $118,875 Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
If you can see a way any horse is turning the table on Nest out of the Ashland, I want what you’re having. This one hasn’t won in her last 4 starts and her final position number keeps getting bigger.
- Rank # 20
- 23 Total Points
- $139,000 Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
This runner feels like a really nice top level allowance horse. That’s about it. Not exactly Kentucky Oaks champion material.
- Rank # 21
- 20 Total Points
- $88,125 Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
Closer to Nest than the others in the Ahsland, Interstatedaydream looked like she was in California rush hour against Nest.
- Rank # 22
- 20 Total Points
- $40,000 Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
This runner was a well beaten third to Echo Zulu and Hidden connections in the Fair Grounds Oaks. It would take one heck of a training job to get this one to pass those two in this spot.
- Rank # 23
- 18 Total Points
- $580,000 Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
This one looked like she could be mentioned along with the monsters listed above, but that never came to fruition. She lost convincingly to Echo Zulu in the Breeders’ Cup and hasn’t been seen since. Even if she were to get an offer to the gate, this is not a race you win off a 5 month layoff.
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