The Fillies: Our 1st 2022 Kentucky Oaks Contenders List

The Oaks under the twin spires of Churchill Downs is just as important as the Derby in many ways. See who has the potential to get to that celebrated Friday!
The Oaks under the twin spires of Churchill Downs is just as important as the Derby in many ways. See who has the potential to get to that celebrated Friday!

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Welcome to the 1st edition of our weekly rankings for the 2022 edition of the Kentucky Oaks. With “Points” up for grabs over the course of the next several months, it is going to be exciting to watch how each filly jockeys for position on this list. Some will rise, while others will fall … To kick things off, Lead Turfwriter J.N. Campbell offers his selections, along with a brief analysis of where these 3-yr-olds ran, and when we might see them again.

Take a look, and join us along the Oaks Trail!

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Kentucky Oaks 2021 Contenders ...

#1 Echo Zulu: Until a filly can match the speed and power of this Asmussen-trainee, it is going to be very difficult to dethrone this one. It is fitting that this daughter of Gun Runner hails from this barn. In 4 career starts she has continued to just blast the competition. The Spinaway S, the Frizette S., and the BC Juvenile Fillies (G1) were all uber-impressive ... She wins the Eclipse Award with ease …

#2 Juju’s Map: A daughter of Liam’s Map, this Brad Cox filly was Echo Zulu’s main rival in the BC Juvenile Fillies (G1). She was not fast enough to keep up … finishing 2nd in that contest. Her best score to-date was at Keeneland in the Alcibiades S. (G1), and that proved her level of talent. Once she gets back into training, it will be interesting to see where Cox sends her … the Fair Grounds.

#3 Under the Stars: Trainer Bob Baffert could not receive any “Points” for this filly’s win in the Santa Ynez S. (G2) last Saturday at “The Great Race Place.” Still, she has to be considered significant, especially if she can be transferred to another operation. Maybe CDI will overlook that “connection,” but we will have to see. Flavien Prat rode her to a 6+ length score that impressed many … a MSW Co. racer that jumped into Grade 2 Co.? Impressive …

#4 Hidden Connection: Trainer Bret Calhoun’s filly had one of the 2-yr-old single performances of the year back in September at Churchill Downs. The Pocahontas S. (G3) score reflected just how good this daughter of Connect can be. Jockey Rey Gutierrez proved his aggressive ability, and though his mount did not respond in BC Juvenile Fillies (G1), she has the ability to make an impact on the Oaks Trail. In training at the Fair Grounds, we can expect to see her there.

#5 North County: Brendan Walsh’s filly by Not This Time is coming off a signature win in the Untapable S. at the Fair Grounds on the day after Christmas. That was a nice victory after jumping from an ALLW Co. race at Keeneland at the end of their October Meet. Undefeated, she has to be considered a threat moving forward, especially with that lovely late kick of hers. She has some gears that others don’t … one to watch …

#6 Ain’t Easy: Like most, I am waiting to see when Phil D’Amato will put this Into Mischief filly back into training. She was awfully good back in October in the Chandelier S. (G2) at Santa Anita. Her breeding speaks to ability, but she also had Joel Rosario guiding her … one of the best in the business. Hopefully, we will see her this spring, contesting the lead in the Santa Anita Series.

#7 Cairo Memories: Trainer Bob Hess has a filly that just missed against Baffert’s Eda at Los Alamitos in the Grade 1 Starlet S. This daughter of Cairo Prince battled hard, and even though she did not visit the winner’s circle, she took home some KYOaks Points … 4 to be exact. Now, Hess has some options, and needs to find a spot for her to run next. We will wait and see where she lands …

#8 Electric Ride: The Daredevil filly that is trained by the talented John Sadler was 2nd in the Chandelier S. (G2) back at Santa Anita in early October. Like D’Amato’s runner, she has not returned to training just yet. Thus, it is hard to know when and where … we will see her next. But, stay tuned because this one has some potential …

#9 Magic Circle: Out of the alums of the Demoiselle S. (G2) at Aqueduct in early December, I am most interested to see when this Rudy Rodriguez charge will run next. I like her early speed, and even though the filly by Kantharos faded in the stretch with Manny Franco aboard, she has potential to bounce back.

#10 Tonito’s: One of my early West Coast favorites that can improve next time out for conditioner Doug O’Neill … This Blame filly already has a pair of stakes starts to her credit. She hit-the-board in both the Desi Arnaz S. @DMR, and in the Starlet S. (G1) @Los Al. Back in training, her able-bodied conditioner is going to have her ready to roll through the Santa Anita Series as 2022 unfolds. Regular Reddam rider, Mario Gutierrez, will probably get the call.


The Friday May 6th running of the Kentucky Oaks will be here before you know it! Hold fast …

Kentucky Oaks 2022

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