Kentucky Oaks Horses Guide 2022

Once the top of the lane arrives in the KYOaks on Friday, we are going to see the result of a highly-contentious pace ... Here is a Preview of the big race, as turfwriter J.N. Campbell surveys the field with this horse-by-horse guide!
Once the top of the lane arrives in the KYOaks on Friday, we are going to see the result of a highly-contentious pace ... Here is a Preview of the big race, as turfwriter J.N. Campbell surveys the field with this horse-by-horse guide!

Midweek Bet Back

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Kentucky Oaks 2022 Post Positions & Morning Line Odds
  • Post Position
  • Name of Horse
  • Morning Line Odds

Post Position

  • 1.
  • 2.
  • 3.
  • 4.
  • 5.
  • 6.
  • 7.
  • 8.
  • 9.
  • 10.
  • 11.
  • 12.
  • 13.
  • 14.
  • 15 (A/E)

Name of Horse

  • Secret Oath
  • Nostalgic
  • Hidden Connection
  • Nest
  • Goddess of Fire
  • Yuugiri
  • Echo Zulu
  • Venti Valentine
  • Desert Dawn
  • Kathleen O.
  • Cocktail Moments
  • Candy Raid
  • Shahama
  • Turnerloose
  • Beguine

Morning Line Odds

  • 6-1
  • 15-1
  • 20-1
  • 5-2
  • 15-1
  • 30-1
  • 4-1
  • 20-1
  • 20-1
  • 7-2
  • 30-1
  • 30-1
  • 15-1
  • 20-1
  • 30-1

Race 11: 1 1/8th (Dirt) Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1), Purse $1.25 million, 3F (Friday)

The 2021 Edition, of what should be considered one of the greatest traditions in North American racing, was a thrilling duel between Todd Pletcher’s Malathaat and Chad Brown’s Search Results. In the end, it was HOF rider John Velazquez aboard the former, who prevailed in the end over the latter. As giants mark time, we have had some wonderful fillies come to Churchill, looking to capture this “Oaks” crown. In ’22, this might be one of those most continuous races in recent memory. Can HOF conditioner Pletcher win his 5th KYOaks? Or will trainers like D.W. Lukas, Brad Cox, Steve Asmussen, or Bret Calhoun, swipe the prize? Here we go ‘cappers, what a race!

Now, let’s find out about this field…

---------------------------------------------

#1 Secret Oath (Jky: L. Saez/Trn: DW Lukas):

The talent level in this year’ KYO is impressive, and we start from the inside post with this Lukas-trainee. If you have not heard of this 3-yr-old daughter of Arrogate, then you might reside under something that comes after igneous. After winning the Martha Washington $200k at Oaklawn, she then really turned some heads in the G3 Honeybee S. Lukas handed the keys to Luis Contreras, and he was on quite a ride … she scored by an eye-popping 7+ lengths. The decision to send her to the Arkansas Derby (G1) to compete against the boys was met with cheers, for the most part. She had a tough start, but that middle move she made towards the end of the backstretch was major league. Lukas has a budding star here, and I would not be surprised if she wins the Oaks for “Coach.” New rider Luis Saez was the biggest addition of all … sans Contreras.

Grade: B+

 

#2 Nostalgic (Jky: J. Ortiz/Trn: B. Mott):

This Godolphin homebred notched a gritty win in the Gazelle S. (G3) at “The Big A,” and now she is coming to Churchill for more. HOF trainer Bill Mott has her elevating at the proper time, and she is going to need all the help she can muster against a group like this one. The really positive news for the daughter of Medaglia d’Oro, is that Jose Ortiz is available once again to take the mount. His confidence is probably as high as it has ever been, and who doesn’t like the late kick his mount offered, when asked, in that Grade 3. If you are looking for a filly that is flying under the radar, then this is one to consider. Maybe my sleeper pick, when it comes time to make out some tickets.

Grade: B

 

#3 Hidden Connection (Jky: R. Gutierrez/Trn: B. Calhoun):

There is no question that trainer Bret Calhoun is an impressive horseman, and he understands the intricacies of how to get the very best from a racehorse. His filly by Connect was a stunner in the Grade 3 Pocahontas S. way back in mid-September of last year, but she has yet to win another race since then. Of course, she just missed against Asmussen’s Echo Zulu in the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) in late March, and rider Reylu Gutierrez has an excellent understanding by now of what it takes to get her home in time. I think this is a lovely runner, and I bet she will be making an impact as she matures. However, I do not believe that she will do better than 3rd in this race. There is just too much firepower, and looking elsewhere seems prudent.  

Grade: B-

 

#4 Nest (Jky: I. Ortiz/Trn: T. Pletcher):

If I could get 5/2 on this entry, then that would be decidedly classified as a dream. My sure-bet comes Friday in the form of this well-meant filly owned by both Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Repole Stable. I could not be higher on an Oaks entry, and though I am not saying she will win by 8+ lengths … what I am saying is that she will win the Oaks. Ridden by Irad Ortiz, Todd Pletcher has made all the right moves bringing her along. The Suncoast $150k at Tampa was the right spot to start her Oaks Campaign, and she followed it up with an impressive score in the Grade 1 Ashland against 7 other foes. She is going to have to go out on a wet track on Friday and get this victory, but I have little doubt that it will happen. Pletcher game plans … organizes … his connections trust him … and he didn’t get in the HOF last year because there was no one else to offer the spot to … This filly wins … I don’t give it out often, but here is the grade … it’s earned!

Grade: A+

 

#5 Goddess of Fire (Jky: J. Velazquez/Trn: T. Pletcher):

The 2nd of a trio of Pletcher entries … clearly this one is the next chair. By Mineshaft, this 3-yr-old was last seen down at Gulfstream Park in their version of the Oaks (G2). I actually did not think that was a tough race at all, and Shug McGaughey’s ace, Kathleen O., ended up with the prize. As for Pletcher’s filly, she was 2nd … less than 3-lengths behind. The Red Oak Stable homebred gets a rematch of sorts, and also has a HOF jockey in John Velazquez. Ironically, he was aboard when she broke her maiden on debut at Saratoga in August. She will not get much “talk” compared to her much more celebrated stablemate, but that doesn’t mean that this filly cannot run with the best of them. Is there a chance for her to hit-the-board, especially after her runs in the Pocahontas (G3) and Rachel Alexandra (G2), of course …

Grade: B

 

#6 Yuugiri (Jky: F. Geroux/Trn: R. Brisset):

The winner of the G3 Fantasy S. at Oaklawn Park comes to Churchill with much promise, and she is trying to jump into a much tougher pool this time around … cannonball … lookout below. Trainer Rudy Brisset gave her some Churchill experience last fall when she competed in 3 different contests. The final one … the Golden Rod S. (G2) was a tough battle, and she lost the lead late in the game. Clearly, the front-running score in Hot Springs was her at her best. I doubt seriously though that Florent Geroux will have it that easy in the KYOaks. This is a big field with lots of options, and it will be tough to turn this Grade 1 into a merry-go-round. The tale of the tape ... this is an impressive daughter of Shackleford that is bred and owned by the Tsunebumi Family.  

Grade: C+

 

#7 Echo Zulu (Jky: J. Rosario/Trn: S. Asmussen):

Most bettors and other watchers of the sport of horse racing were waiting to see this celebrated daughter of Gun Runner come back to the track in ’22. Let’s face it, the Steve Asmussen-trainee was ultra-impressive in the BC Juvenile Fillies at Del Mar in early November, winning by a smart-looking 5+ lengths. It was Joel Rosario’s day, and he really put the exclamation point on the weekend. The HOF trainer, who is now the all-time winningest conditioner in North American history bided his time, waiting for the right opportunity to enter his star equine athlete. The Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) was the target, and the result was a “win” … or was it? Down that long lane in New Orleans, Rosario asked for more, and the filly clearly did not have it. Bret Calhoun’s Hidden Connection (who is also drawn in here) was coming … only missing because the wire arrived too soon. Maybe we can chalk it up to rust … needing a race, as the trainer-speak saying goes … or maybe, the leap from 2 to 3-yrs-old is just too tough. The test is coming … “Play Like a Champion,” ala Notre Dame … I am skeptical …

Grade: B

 

#8 Venti Valentine (Jky: T. Gaffalione/Trn: J. Abreu):

Trainer Jorge Abreu made a key decision when he entered his daughter in the KYOaks … get Tyler Gaffalione to pilot this filly. That was a major choice, and a good one. Looking over this daughter of Firing Line’s form, you will see some solid performances. The “never run a bad race” comment is trite, but I will say that she has the early speed to get out in-front, and try and dictate things from the lead. That can be a powerful weapon, as long as you don’t miss the break. Gaffalione has a solid Churchill record recently, and he knows how to get ready for the big races. Even though Abreu’s runner lost the lead in the Gazelle S. (G3) she still has ability, and will be a great price. At least those are some attributes …

Grade: C+

 

#9 Desert Dawn (Jky: U. Rispoli/Trn: P. D’Amato):

A daughter of Cupid is making the trek east in hopes of more Oaks glory. She was much-the-best at long odds against a short field in the Santa Anita Oaks (G2). That wasn’t much of a resume builder, but she did beat the “Bafferts” at 15/1 on the tote. Trainer Phil D’Amato is known more for his turf stock, but he is going to roll the dice, and try to upset the apple cart. The SoCal ace rider that is also coming this way is Umberto Rispoli, and he can turn in some solid rides when you least expect it. This is a tough ask, 3rd off-the-bench … bet with caution …

Grade: C

 

#10 Kathleen O. (Jky: J. Castellano/Trn: S. McGaughey):

There is a strong chance that this Shug McGaughey filly will end up being the race time favorite in the slop come Friday. She certainly deserves respect, and looking over her undefeated record, you can see why. By Upstart, she was very sharp down at Gulfstream Park against Goddess of Fire and Cocktail Moments in a pair of “graded” races. In 4 career starts, she has not really been challenged much at all. This is particularly concerning coming into a hostile environment like Churchill. Regular rider Javier Castellano will be aboard, which speaks to continuity, but I am against this runner … she is almost bridging the line of being overrated. I understand that this is Shug we are speaking of, but even he has his limits. She is going to have to prove that she belongs … just like everyone else.

Grade: B

 

#11 Cocktail Moments (Jky: C. Lanerie/Trn: K. McPeek):

A well-bred filly by Uncle Mo that brought $190k at the Keeneland September Sale in 2020, Kenny McPeek is hoping she can muster the strength to outlast them all. It will not be easy. The positive news is that she has been up against both Kathleen O. and Nest … The negative is that she was behind both of them in the Davona Dale (G2) and the Ashland S. (G1). I like Corey Lanerie’s scrappy mentality, and race riding ability, but this is going to take a monumental effort for this one to pull off the upset. Uncle Mo is a fabulous sire … but still …

Grade: C+

 

#12 Candy Raid (Jky: R. Bejarano/Trn: K. Desormeaux):

It would not be a Derby Weekend without a Desormeaux on the stage. Keith D. trains this daughter of Candy Ride (ARG), and is hoping this long shot can flip the script. One of the more experienced entries, this filly already has 10 races to her credit. Her claim to fame is that she won the Bourbonette Oaks $250k to the tune of 52/1. Seasoned rider, Rafael Bejarano, was aboard then, and will be once again. What we do know is that this race will not be on Tapeta, and she is going to have to outrun her odds once again. Boxcar loaded … time to haul it …

Grade: C

 

#13 Shahama (Jky: F. Prat/Trn: T. Pletcher):

The last of the Pletcher pals is this daughter of Munnings, a sire that has certainly proved his mettle for producing sprinters. But this is a major distance test … towards the “Classic” variety. Luckily, she has a nice last out in the UAE Oaks (G3) over in Dubai in mid-February. Owned by Khk Racing, it was a “key” victory for the connections. The HOF trainer is entering her in this spot, and she could play spoiler when it comes to the minor awards. Ridden by accomplished jockey, Flavien Prat, she is the “wild card” in this full field, and it will be very interesting to see if she can adapt to the track and race time conditions. I will be using her, but her stablemate that is in the 4-hole is going to have a much better chance.  

Grade: B-

 

#14 Turnerloose (Jky: M. Franco/Trn: B. Cox):

Breaking from the extreme outside in a race like this one is not necessarily a positive, but Brad Cox’s lone entry is used to facing adversity. Last out, in the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) she could not keep up with Echo Zulu, and did not have the jets to keep up with Hidden Connection. She tried to capitalize on that signature “win” in the Rachel Alexandra, when she crossed the wire first at odds of 18/1. The question is … which daughter of Nyquist is going to show? Is it the one that used her late gears in mid-February, or the one that “faded” in late March? Hard to say … maybe Manny Franco can make the difference? I am not so sure.

Grade: C+

 

#15 Beguine (AE) (Jky: R. Santana/Trn: D. Peitz):

The lone “Also-Eligible” is this well-bred daughter of Gun Runner that is trained by Dan Peitz. She was the runner-up in the Fantasy S. (G3) at Oaklawn, and is hoping to get a spot in the starting gate when Friday rolls around. Her speed figs look promising, after elevating significantly in Hot Springs over the course of March and into April. The best news is that Ricardo Santana is waiting in the wings to ride, and I like his aggressive style very much. Stay tuned … could be a player underneath at an obscene price, if she gets in.

Grade: B-

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Kentucky Oaks 2022

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Kentucky Oaks 2022 Racecard

4
PP 4

Nest

  • Age: 3 /
  • Jockey: I. Ortiz Jr. /
  • Trainer: T. Pletcher /
Morning Line Odds
10
PP 10

Kathleen O.

  • Age: 3 /
  • Jockey: J. Castellano /
  • Trainer: C. McGaughey III /
Morning Line Odds
7
PP 7

Echo Zulu

  • Age: 3 /
  • Jockey: J. Rosario /
  • Trainer: S. Asmussen /
Morning Line Odds
1
PP 1

Secret Oath

  • Age: 3 /
  • Jockey: L. Saez /
  • Trainer: D. Lukas /
Morning Line Odds
13
PP 13

Shahama

  • Age: 3 /
  • Jockey: F. Prat /
  • Trainer: T. Pletcher /
2
PP 2

Nostalgic

  • Age: 3 /
  • Jockey: J. Ortiz /
  • Trainer: W. Mott /
5
PP 5

Goddess of Fire

  • Age: 3 /
  • Jockey: J. Velazquez /
  • Trainer: T. Pletcher /
14
PP 14

Turnerloose

  • Age: 3 /
  • Jockey: M. Franco /
  • Trainer: B. Cox /
3
PP 3

Hidden Connection

  • Age: 3 /
  • Jockey: R. Guttierez /
  • Trainer: W. Calhoun /
8
PP 8

Venti Valentine

  • Age: 3 /
  • Jockey: T. Gaffalione /
  • Trainer: J. Abreu /
Show All Runners
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