2020 Kentucky Oaks Predictions & Preview
146th Edition of the Kentucky Oaks – 1 1/8 miles – Dirt
Friday, September 4th 5:45pm EST
Gamine vs. Swiss Skydiver…. The battle lines have been drawn.
On one side of the ring we have Gamine, a blue-blooded – 3-year-old filly who was purchased for $1.8 Million by owner Michael Lund Petersen appears every bit the freak-of-nature her speed figures tab her as being. Trained by Hall of Fame trainer and two-time Triple Crown winner, Bob Baffert, Gamine has crossed the finish line in first place in all four of her career starts. Her one blemish was a medication infraction back in May at Oaklawn Park. Since then she’s DOMINATED in two Grade 1 events. She won the Acorn at Belmont Park by 18 ¾ lengths. Most recently she won the Grade 1 Test Stakes at Saratoga by 7 lengths. Gamine’s game is to be ON-the-engine and has never not had the lead in a race.
On the other side of the ring we have Swiss Skydiver. A much more modestly bred 3-year-old daughter of Daredevil, purchased for $35,000, a mere fraction of the purchase price of her counterpart, Gamine. Swiss Skydiver is the leading earner in this field by a wide margin after winning 5 of 9 starts with two second place finishes. Since the start of her career less than a year ago, Swiss Skydiver has traveled from her trainer’s home base at Churchill Downs in Kentucky, to Florida, then to Louisiana, back to Florida where she won the Gulfstream Park Oaks, then to Arkansas where she won the Fantasy Stakes, to California where she destroyed an overmatched field in the Santa Anita Oaks, to Kentucky for the Blue Grass Stakes and most recently she took her show to Saratoga where she won the Alabama Stakes. If that run-on sentence detailing her year wasn’t impressive enough, in what was perhaps her most impressive effort, she faced 13, 3-year-old colts in the Blue Grass Stakes and beat every single one of them home except for Art Collector who will be the likely second or third choice in the Kentucky Derby. At this point, Swiss Skydiver is the filly most deserving of the title based on wins and earnings.
Many handicappers will see this as a two horse event and leave it at that but these fillies have very similar running styles and if they both push one another through suicidal fractions the race could set up for a closer to upset. Let’s get a quick introduction to the rest of the field:
Speech appears to be the logical third choice in the Kentucky Oaks. With three wins, three seconds and a third place finish, she’s never been off the board and has run second to both Swiss Skydiver and Gamine (she was subsequently placed ahead of Gamine after that one was DQ’d due to a medication infraction). Speech won her most recent start, the Ashland at Keeneland and her speed figures seem to put her as third best in this group, however she’s another filly whose best running has been on or near the front end. If she’s there battling it out with the two favorites from the start it could be a long day for Speech.
Donna Veloce hasn’t raced since March 8th and is coming into this race a fresh filly for trainer Simon Callaghan. An $800,000 purchase, Donna Veloce has won 2 of 4 starts and has run second twice. Once, by a neck in the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile Fillies (America’s top race for 2-year-old fillies) and once by a ½ length in the Grade 1 Starlet Stakes to Bast. In her most recent start, Donna Veloce easily defeated Speech but she’s yet another front-runner in a field loaded with speed with many, including Donna Veloce, that are untested at this 1 1/8 mile distance.
Shedaresthedevil has put together a more impressive resume than every filly in here except for Swiss Skydiver with over $500k in earnings and she’s likely to be 20-1. A winner of 4 of 9 starts, Shedaresthedevil has won her last two starts impressively after getting torched by Swiss Skydiver in the Fantasy Stakes by +13 lengths. Shedaresthedevil is yet another filly to add pace to this sizzling early duel and that won’t help her chances.
Hopeful Growth is a three time winner of 5 starts with a maiden win, an optional claiming win and a win in the Monmouth Oaks to her credit. All of her wins have come in races where she’s been within two lengths of the lead at any point in the race. She will be acid tested for class here. Low profile connections will ensure value.
Tempers Rising appears to be the lone closer in the field of 9 and is likely to be the longest price on the board. Trainer Dallas Stewart is no stranger to winning the Kentucky Oaks with a longshot. He won this race in 2006 with Lemon’s Forever who was the longest shot to win in the race’s history! He’s also trained two horses who have run second in the Kentucky Derby – both at long odds – Commanding Curve and Golden Soul. Tempers Rising is however only has a maiden win to her credit in 10 career starts and would need to run the race of her life to contend here.
Bayerness is a winner of 2 of 5 starts and has been defeated by Shedaresthedevil and Dream Marie who will both be HUGE longshots to win here. Bayerness will be a rank outsider in the field but does own a win over Swiss Skydiver as a 2-year-old at Churchill Downs on a sloppy track.
Dream Marie is the lone grey filly in the race. She’s won 3 of 11 and is another who would need the top fillies to run terribly and she’d need to eclipse her top speed figures by roughly 30 points to contend in this field. Dream Marie has been defeated by both Swiss Skydiver and Hopeful Growth but does appear to have the ability to close from off the pace. A quality that is lacking among the rest of the Kentucky Oaks hopefuls.
No matter how you slice it, the Kentucky Oaks will separate the contenders from the pretenders in the US 3-year-old filly division. Members signed up with the US Racing Expert through Betting Gods will receive a link to a video where I will make my selections for first, second and third for anyone looking to make money with exotic wagers this Friday. Join today!