Swiss watchmaker Longines becomes the new multi-year title sponsor. Longines also has as part of the new agreement become the Official Timekeeper of Churchill Downs racetrack.
Post, Horse, Jockey, Morning-line odds
1. Silsita, G.Stevens, 20-1
2. Midnight Lucky, R.Bejarano, 9-2
3. Beholder, G.Gomez, 7-2
4. Unlimited Budget, J.Castellano, 7-2
5. Seaneen Girl, R.Napravnik, 20-1
6. Princess of Sylmar, M.Smith, 20-1
7. Pure Fun, J.Leparoux, 30-1
8. Dreaming of Julia, J.Velazquez, 3-1
9. Rose to Gold, C.Borel, 15-1
10. Flashy Gray, J.Alvarado, 15-1
11. Close Hatches, J.Rosario, 6-1
Track odds by Mike Battaglia
Post time: Friday, 5:45 p.m. Eastern
All starters carry 121 pounds
If anyone thinks Dreaming of Julia will go off at a fat 3/1 odds post time I've got a bridge for you Even money or less, despite JV only expected to return riding tomorrow from his injuries ... look out for Joel though as he's white hot and could hit the board even with a three-legged mule
Truthfully I am looking forward to this race more than the Derby. There are some uber talented fillies here and to see them all go head to head will be a race for the ages. Dreaming of Julia at 3-1? Sure.
"It's a very good field this year," Borel said of the Oaks. "I think it's as good as the Derby. But she is doing so great. I can't believe I'm saying she's doing better than Oaklawn, because she ran two bang-up races out there, but I believe she is. She's a very nice filly. Don't underestimate her."
Mott said the bruise was detected following the filly’s Wednesday morning gallop.
“During her gallop I noticed she wasn’t into the bridle, she wasn’t skipping across the ground like she had been,” Mott said. “It looks like she bruised the inside quarter of her right front foot, on the bulb of the heel.
“It’s possible she may be completely sound by Oaks Day, she may not be. I spoke with the connections, and given the significance of the race and the entire situation we didn’t want to risk having an issue.”
"Some fillies in Kentucky Oaks would give Derby contenders run for their money"
Many observers would even go so far as to suggest the best 3-year-old running this week in America won't be racing in the Kentucky Derby, but rather in the Oaks. And certainly the best story here this week, the tale that's the odds-on favorite to grab people by their shirt-collars and demand their attention, if not also their fascination, involves a diminutive Oaks filly named Rose To Gold.
"This is the best Oaks I've ever seen," Baffert said, "the most competitive one that I've ever been in. There are some really fast fillies in here."
"Four or five of these fillies," said Bill Mott, the Hall of Fame trainer of Close Hatches, "would be favored in almost any other year. It's a great Oaks."
Probably the best story ...
And then there's Rose To Gold. She was purchased for $1,400 to be pinhooked -- that is for the purpose of turning a quick profit in resale. But nobody would buy her, explained Raffaele Centofanti, one of her owners. Nobody wanted her, not even an exercise rider who turned her down in lieu of payment.
She turns no heads in the mornings when she goes to the racetrack. She's light, smallish, unprepossessing. But she's pure racehorse and loves to run. This $1,400 purchase that nobody wanted has earned $717,889 while winning five of her six races. Her only poor performance came on the synthetic surface at Keeneland.
Although note that while horse and rider look "ok" - Julien Leparoux was tossed off at the start of the 7th at Churchill Downs. You never know if some soreness will effect his rides for the rest of the day.