By Jarrod Horak
The first nine Kentucky Oaks 2023 points races are in the books. Wonder Wheel won two big Grade 1 races at Keeneland, the Alcibiades and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, and she will almost certainly be named the juvenile filly champion. Honorable mention goes to sharp Golden Rod winner Hoosier Philly, and promising Demoiselle winner Julia Shining. Those three fillies show the way as we head into 2023.
Kentucky Oaks 2023 Points Race Results
Grade 3 Pocahontas (9-17-22) – Winner: Fun and Feisty
The first Oaks points race featured a full field of twelve. Grand Love set the pace as the favorite, and the splits were honest. My value top choice Fun and Feisty, breaking from post 10, hovered near the back of the pack for the opening half-mile. She started to advance wide and kept on coming in the stretch to score by more than three lengths under Julien Leparoux. Shoplifter stalked the pace and was second best, and early runner Grand Love held the show by a half-length over Boss Lady Bailey. Friendlypersuasion stalked the pacesetter from the outside post and ended up a clear 5th. The final time for 1 1/16 miles was 1:45.86. The winner ran a solid race but there was probably not much behind her.
Grade 1 Frizette (10-2-22) – Winner: Chocolate Gelato
The track was sloppy in this one-turn mile at Aqueduct. You’re My Girl was prominent early and was chased by Vedareo and Leave No Trace. Chocolate Gelato sat back in 5th early, moved up wide, took the lead, and slowly pushed away to win by a length over You’re My Girl. Leave No Trace was a clear 3rd and American Rockette was best of the rest in 4th. Vedareo was next and The Great Maybe trailed. My original top choice Raging Sea scratched due to the wet conditions, and she was rerouted to the Alcibiades. The final time was 1:38.57, and this was not a fast race. It is tough to get a gauge on this race due to the track condition.
Alcibiades (10-7-22) – Winner: Wonder Wheel
The race was packed with 14-horses, and it was a bit of an adventure in the stretch. Wonder Wheel controlled the tempo from the inside post. She slowly increased her advantage from a half-length, to a length, to 1 1/2 lengths, and was clear by three lengths in the stretch. Surface switcher Chop Chop broke slow and was back in 11th place for at least a half-mile before launching her rally under Rosario. She was steadily making up ground in the stretch but ran out of real estate and Wonder Wheel held on by a nose. My top choice Raging Sea chased the pace and was a nose and a neck behind the top two. She was a clear 3rd but bumped with Xigera in the stretch, and after an objection, the latter was elevated to 3rd. Sabra Tuff was 5th and picked up one point. The final time was 1:45.17, and the top three finishers all ran quality races.
Chandelier (10-8-22) – Winner: And Tell Me Nolies
The California juvenile fillies have not been particularly fast or impressive, and this race drove that point home. Naughty Lottie, Ice Dancing, and Home Cooking mixed it up early and they set the table for the patient runners. Del Mar Debutante (G1) winner And Tell Me Nolies stretched out successfully in this spot. She stumbled at the break, sat behind the fast fractions, rallied wide and got clear, and held safe by a bit less than a length. 24-1 outsider Uncontrollable was up for the place and Justique rallied from last to garner the show as the beaten favorite. Ice Dancing and Home Cooking weakened to 4th and 5th. The final time of 1:46.15 was nothing special in this fast early/slow late affair.
BC Juvenile Fillies (11-4-22) – Winner: Wonder Wheel
A baker’s dozen lined up in the biggest juvenile filly prize of the year. Grand Love carved out the fractions in the Pocahontas, and she did the same thing in this event. Leave No Trace did all of the pace dirty work from post 12, and she got the lead in the lane and gave her backers a 25-1 thrill. However, Mark Casse’s versatile filly Wonder Wheel had something to say about the final outcome. She set the pace in the Alcibiades but was not interested in getting involved early the time. She was far back in 11th, moved inside, waited for running room, and had a full head of steam and kicked away by three lengths. Leave No Trace completed the exacta and Raging Sea broke last from the outside post and had a bit of an uncomfortable trip in a clear show finish. Sabra Tuff was 4th at 62-1 odds and You’re My Girl stalked the pace and finished 5th. Some promising fillies disappointed including Atomically (7th), Tell Me Nolies (8th), Chocolate Gelato (12th), and my top choice Chop Chop (13th). The latter was the only closer making up any ground in the Alcibiades, and she was surprisingly the favorite in this race. She was hung out wide throughout and never got involved. The final time (1:44.90) was a bit faster than the Alcibiades, and Wonder Wheel locked up the filly title with her win in this affair.
Golden Rod (11-26-22) – Winner: Hoosier Philly
The outcome was never in doubt. Hoosier Philly was the overwhelming favorite and she did not disappoint. She sat a comfortable outside stalking trip, cruised up to the front, and pulled clear with complete authority while under a hand ride. Knockyoursocksoff rallied to garner the place at 24-1, and Pretty Mischievous completed the trifecta as the second betting choice. Pure Pauline and Defining Purpose were next, and American Rockette ended up a disappointing 7th. The final time was 1:43.94. Hoosier Philly is now 3-for-3 for Tom Amoss, and the visually impressive winner is one of the top juvenile fillies in the land.
Demoiselle (12-3-22) – Winner: Julia Shining
Malathaat’s baby sister Julia Shining made a favorable impression in her stakes bow. She had only raced once prior to this event, and it was a big ask for her to stretch out to 1/18 miles in the slop. Malathaat won this event in the slop in 2020, and Nest won it last year with an overland trip. Todd Pletcher keeps churning out these talented Curlin fillies, and this time Julia Shining bobbled early and rallied outside to score by a neck over Affirmative Lady. Gambling Girl, Royal Spa, and La Vita Sofia rounded out the top five. The final time was 1:53.05. For comparison purposes, Nest went 9f in 1:55.07 last year, and Malathaat completed her nine panel Demoiselle journey in 1:52.36. Julia Shining definitely has something but I am not sure exactly what at this stage. She was climbing early in her seven panel bow and put it together late to score by more than two lengths. She may not have cared for the wet footing in this contest but won anyway. She is an exciting prospect as we head into 2023.
Starlet (12-10-22) – Winner: Faiza
Faiza sure looked good in her sprint bow at Del Mar, and she was the 1-2 chalk in this spot. Her stablemate Doinitthehardway set a pressured pace from the rail, and Bob Baffert’s maiden could not cope. Faiza worked out a comfortable stalking trip outside the speed under Flavien Prat, and she cruised up and briefly looked like she would pull clear. Pride of the Nile, a two-time turf route winner, stumbled badly at the start, settled outside, and moved up along the inside and got to the front in the stretch. She bumped with Doinitthehardway more than once, and Faiza kept her composure outside those two and ended up prevailing by a head. Pride of the Nile was clearly second best while experiencing an adventurous journey, and Uncontrollable was along for the show. Doinitthehardway weakened to 4th and Blessed Touch hit the gate, raced wide, and never got seriously involved. The finial time was 1:44.49. The California fillies continue to look average, and remember that Baffert trainees are ineligible to earn Oaks and Derby points. Faiza has only raced twice and still has upside, and there might be more in the tank.
Untapable (12-26-22) – Winner: Pretty Mischievous
The complexion of this race changed quickly after post time favorite Vahva stumbled at the start and was last early. All About Me and Hayunevano dueled early, and Just Like Magic joined them. Pretty Mischievous was loving life while stalking the pace from the inside post. The latter moved up, got the lead, and kicked clear to win by 3 1/4 lengths. The Alys Look stalked the pace and was clearly second best, and Vahva made a wide run and gained the show while no match for the top two. Hayunevano was a clear 4th and Hang the Moon checked in 5th to earn a single Oaks point. The final time for this mile and seventy yard test was 1:44.03.
Kentucky Oaks 2023 Points Race Results
Pocahontas (10-4-3-2-1) – Sep. 17 – Winner: Fun and Feisty ($14.46)
Frizette (10-4-3-2-1) – Oct. 2 – Winner: Chocolate Gelato ($5.30)
Alcibiades (10-4-3-2-1) – Oct. 7 – Winner: Wonder Wheel ($10.20)
Chandelier (10-4-3-2-1) – Oct. 8 – Winner: And Tell Me Nolies ($18.80)
BC Juvenile Fillies (30-12-9-6-3) – Nov. 4 – Winner: Wonder Wheel ($15.00)
Golden Rod (10-4-3-2-1) – Nov. 26 – Winner: Hoosier Philly ($2.96)
Demoiselle (10-4-3-2-1) – Dec. 3 – Winner: Julia Shining ($3.10)
Starlet (10-4-3-2-1) – Dec. 10 – Winner: Faiza ($3.00)
Untapable (10-4-3-2-1) – Dec. 26 – Winner: Pretty Mischievous ($5.40)
Sant Ynez (10-4-3-2-1) – Jan. 8
Busanda (20-8-6-4-2) – Jan. 14
Silverbulletday (20-8-6-4-2) – Jan. 21
Martha Washington (20-8-6-4-2) – Jan. 28
Las Virgenes (20-8-6-4-2) – Jan. 28
Forward Gal (20-8-6-4-2) – Feb. 4
Suncoast (20-8-6-4-2) – Feb. 11
UAE Oaks (50-20-15-10-5) – Feb. 17
Rachel Alexandra (50-20-15-10-5) – Feb. 18
Honeybee (50-20-10-5) – Feb. 25
Cincinnati Trophy (20-8-6-4-2) – March 4
Santa Ysabel (50-20-15-10-5) – March 4
Davona Dale (50-20-10-5) – March 4
Busher (50-20-15-10-5) – March 4
FG Oaks (100-40-30-20-10) – March 25
Bourbonette Oaks (50-20-15-10-5) – March 25
Sunland Park Oaks (50-20-15-10-5) – March 26
GP Oaks (100-40-30-20-10) – April 1
SA Oaks (100-40-20-10) – April 1
Fantasy (100-40-20-20-10) – April 1
Ashland (100-40-30-20-10) – April 7
Gazelle (100-40-30-20-10) – April 8
Beaumont (10-4-3-2-1) – April 9
Top 24 Kentucky Oaks Points Leaders (through 12-28-22)
40 Points: Wonder Wheel
15 Points: Leave No Trace
13 Points: Pretty Mischievous
11 Points: Raging Sea
10 Points: Hoosier Philly
10 Points: And Tell Me Nolies
10 Points: Chocolate Gelato
10 Points: Fun and Feisty
10 Points: Julia Shining
07 Points: Sabra Tuff
07 Points: You’re My Girl
07 Points: Uncontrollable
04 Points: Chop Chop
04 Points: Knockyoursocksoff
04 Points: Pride of the Nile
04 Points: Shoplifter
04 Points: Affirmative Lady
04 Points: The Alys Look
03 Points: Grand Love
03 Points: Xigera
03 Points: Gambling Girl
03 Points: Justique
03 Points: Vahva
02 Points: Ice Dancing
Jarrod Horak’s Fabulous Five Kentucky Oaks 2023 Contenders (12-28-22)
#1 – JULIA SHINING – Malathaat’s sister is all upside after Demoiselle (G2) victory.
#2 – HOOSIER PHILLY – A perfect 3-for-3 including sharp score in Golden Rod (G2).
#3 – WONDER WHEEL – Alcibiades (G1) & BC Juvenile Fillies (G1) winner is versatile.
#4 – RAGING SEA – Did well to pick up the show from the outside post in the BC.
#5 – PRETTY MISCHIEVOUS – Got back on the beam in a solid win in the Untapable.