Friday’s 147th running Kentucky Oaks attracted a field of 14 as drawn Monday at Churchill Downs, led by 5-2 morning line favorite Malathaat in post 10. The annual run for the lilies anchors a 13-race program that begins at 10:30 am ET. Post time for the Oaks will be 5:51 pm ET as Race 11.
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None of the major Kentucky Oaks players are committed to make the early pace, though Search Results and Travel Column have had success with first-over moves from a pressing position. Ava’s Grace, pacemaker in Oaklawn’s Fantasy Stakes, is the likely front-runner and drew well in post 7. Moraz next door in post 8 could apply some pressure off her slow-paced, front-end third in the Santa Anita Oaks. Search Results will have to be used early from post 12 to gain position, but will be outside the principal speed horse, a good thing. Travel Column being inside of Ava’s Grace could post some problems trying to settle into a trip.
Malathaat is 4-for-4 lifetime after winning the Grade 1 Ashland at Keeneland in her only start as a 3-year-old. She won the Demoiselle last year at the Oaks’ 1-1/8 miles distance. Trainer Todd Pletcher has won the Oaks 3 times (’04 Ashado, ’07 Rags to Riches, ’13 Princess of Sylmar). Brad Cox and Luis Saez, who team with Derby favorite Essential Quality, will combine forces with Coach (post 9) in the Oaks. Cox has won the Oaks 2 of the last 3 years with Shedaresthedevil and Monomoy Girl.
Kentucky Oaks 147 Field:
1. Pauline’s Pearl (Ricardo Santana Jr.) 20-1
2. Maracuja (Kendrick Carmouche) 20-1
3. Clairiere (Tyler Gaffalione) 5-1
4. Crazy Beautiful (Jose Ortiz) 15-1
5. Pass the Champagne (Javier Castellano) 15-1
6. Travel Column (Florent Geroux) 3-1
7. Ava’s Grace (David Cohen) 50-1
8. Moraz (Flavien Prat) 30-1
9. Coach (Luis Saez) 50-1
10. Malathaat (John Velazquez) 5-2
11. Will’s Secret (Jon Court) 30-1
12. Search Results (Irad Ortiz Jr.) 3-1
13. Competitive Speed (Chris Landeros) 50-1
14. Millefeuille (Joel Rosario) 20-1