Kentucky Oaks 2023 Report: Florida shocker

Dorth Vader upsets Davona Dale Stakes (Coglianese Photo)

By Jarrod Horak

We saw the biggest shocker yet on the road to Kentucky Oaks 2023. That stunning result was in the Davona Dale at Gulfstream Park on March 4. Dorth Vader pressed the pace and kicked clear to score as a 46-1 outsider. She is probably not a top Oaks contender but that sure was a solid effort, and her connections are excited to have a filly in the starting gate on the first Friday in May. 

In other Oaks news, Wet Paint is the current points leader with 70 after back-to-back late running triumphs on wet ground at Oaklawn Park in the Martha Washington and Honeybee. I still want to see what she can do on fast ground.  

Faiza remains under the care of Bob Baffert and is therefore ineligible to earn points and compete in the Kentucky Oaks. She is 4-for-4 and captured three Oaks prep races including a sharp victory in the Santa Ysabel (G3) March 5.  

The Fair Grounds Oaks will be run on March 25, and it is the rubber match between Hoosier Philly and Pretty Mischievous. The former was impressive in the Golden Rod last fall, and the latter turned the tables in the Rachel Alexandra. 

Kentucky Oaks 2023 Points Race Results 

Honeybee (2-25-23): Wet Paint

The first local prep for the Oaks (Martha Washington) was contested over a wet fast track, and this 1 1/16 miles event was run in slop. Wet Paint rolled home from off the pace in the former, and it was deja vu all over again. Condensation got the early lead and was in front for quite some time. She actually spurted away in the stretch and briefly looked home free, but Wet Paint was rolling. The latter was 11th of 12 after the opening quarter, and hovered near the back of the pace for six furlongs or so. She began to pick up the pace after that. Flavien Prat eased her out while seeking a clear path, and she split horses and thundered down the stretch to win going away by three lengths. Condensation held 2nd over stalker Grand Love, and Gambling Girl ran on belatedly for 4th. Towhead was a nose behind that one in 5th, and my value top choice Defining Purpose was in range but was one-paced in 6th. Take Charge Briana, Olivia Twist, Taxed, Effortlesslyelgant, Boss Lady Bailey, and Doudoudouwanadance also ran. The final time was 1:45.35. 


Busher (3-4-23): Shidabhuti

A pair of Chad Brown runners dominated this one. Ziaerati got to the front and post time favorite Asset Purchase sat a perfect pressing trip from the outside post. The latter took over, opened up, and looked home free, but she got tired late and her stablemate Shidabhuti ran her down and scored by two lengths. Asset Purchase was a length and a quarter clear of Capella. Ziaerati weakened to 4th and La Vita Sofia and Check Engine Light trailed. The final time was 1:39.03.  

Cincinnati Trophy (3-4-23): Botanical

B G Warrior was a bit uncontrollable on the front end through fractions of 22.95 and 45.69. Botanical was the strong favorite and she was loving the fast pace in front of her. The latter reeled in the front runner and kicked well clear to win by 6+ lengths while much the best. 26-1 longshot Jill Jitterbug emerged from the pack to land the place, and B G Warrior held 3rd by a length over Bulsara. Miss Peabody, Fun and Feisty, and Moon Magic Chrissy also ran. The final time was 1:36.51. The winner clearly likes all-weather ground for Brad Cox. 

Davona Dale (3-4-23): Dorth Vader 

Many disappointments in a result that did not make much sense. Adeliese’s Smile and Atomically scratched, and the left an 8-horse field. Leave No Trace tried to make the lead from the outside post but she was done early. Red Carpet Ready was the favorite and she quickly took charge, but Dorth Vader and Undervalued Asset were breathing down her neck. The favorite could not take the pressure coming from Dorth Vader, and the latter put away the chalk and bounded away to score by a bit less than five lengths as a 46-1 longshot. Guns n’ Graces rallied from last to land the place at 28-1, and Red Carpet Ready held the show by a neck over Infinite Diamond. Lynx, Positano Sunset, and Undervalued Asset were next, and Leave No Trace eased. The final time was 1:37.23, and we almost certainly did not see the Oaks winner in this race.  

Santa Ysabel (3-5-23): Faiza

Spanning the Globe scratched, and that left a field of five. Faiza was the strong favorite and she did not disappoint. Blessed Touch set the pace as expected and Faiza stalked comfortably from the outside post under Prat. She edged closer to Blessed Touch, and took the lead in the lane and streaked across the line more than two lengths clear. And Tell Me Nolies got past Blessed Touch for the place in a solid effort in her first start since finishing up the track in the BC Juvenile Fillies (G1). Peter Miller said his filly would be a bit short for this and he was exactly right. This was just a starting point for her and she should move forward next time. Blessed Touch ran a quality race and ended up a clear 3rd. Justique raced wide and was no threat to the top three. The talented lane running sprinter loses her punch in route races. Pride of the Nile was fidgety in the gate and did not have a smooth beginning. She found some trouble after that and never got involved in a disappointing last place finish. I think she ends up back on turf at some point. The final time was 1:44.66 and Faiza is now 4-for-4. She is getting better for Baffert but is ineligible for the Oaks.  

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 – Winner: Ice Dancing ($3.00) 

Busanda (20-8-6-4-2) – Jan. 14 – Winner: Occult ($4.80)

Silverbulletday (20-8-6-4-2) – Jan. 21 – Winner: The Alys Look ($6.60)

Martha Washington (20-8-6-4-2) – Jan. 28 – Wet Paint ($8.00)  

Las Virgenes (20-8-6-4-2) – Jan. 28 – Faiza ($4.00)

Forward Gal (20-8-6-4-2) – Feb. 4 – Red Carpet Ready ($6.60)

Suncoast (20-8-6-4-2) – Feb. 11 – Dreaming of Snow ($78.00)

UAE Oaks (50-20-15-10-5) – Feb. 17 – Mimi Kakushi 

Rachel Alexandra (50-20-15-10-5) – Feb. 18 – Pretty Mischievous ($18.20)

Honeybee (50-20-10-5) – Feb. 25 – Wet Paint ($5.40)

Busher (50-20-15-10-5) – March 4 – Winner: Shidabhuti ($12.60)

Cincinnati Trophy (20-8-6-4-2) – March 4: Botanical ($3.90)

Davona Dale (50-20-10-5) – March 4 – Winner: Dorth Vader ($95.40)

Santa Ysabel (50-20-15-10-5) – March 5 – Winner: Faiza ($3.60)

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 16 

Top 24 Kentucky Oaks Points Leaders (through 3-21-23)

70 Points: Wet Paint 

63 Points: Pretty Mischievous

50 Points: Dorth Vader

50 Points: Mimi Kakushi

50 Points: Shidabhuti

48 Points: Wonder Wheel

35 Points: Red Carpet Ready

30 Points: And Tell Me Nolies

25 Points: Hoosier Philly

24 Points: The Alys Look

21 Points: Gambling Girl

20 Points: Dreaming of Snow

20 Points: Botanical

20 Points: Condensation

20 Points: Miracle

20 Points: Occult

20 Points: Asset Purchase

20 Points: Guns n’ Graces

19 Points: Justique

18 Points: Grand Love

17 Points: Chop Chop

17 Points: Pride of the Nile

16 Points: Julia Shining

16 Points: Blessed Touch


Jarrod Horak’s Fabulous Five Kentucky Oaks 2023 Contenders (3-21-23)   

#1 – JULIA SHINING – Demoiselle winner 3rd in Suncoast return. Back-to-back bullets March 9 & 16. 

Curlin – Dreaming of Julia, by A. P. Indy – Trainer: Todd Pletcher – Next Start: Ashland     

#2 – HOOSIER PHILLY – Lost for first time in paceless Rachel Alexandra. Drilled 5f bullet at FG March 16. 

Into Mischief – Tapella, by Tapit – Trainer: Tom Amoss – Next Start: FG Oaks   

#3 – PRETTY MISCHIEVOUS – Rachel Alexandra winner had an easy 5f breeze at FG March 18.  

Into Mischief – Pretty City Dancer, by Tapit – Trainer: Brendan Walsh  – Next Start: FG Oaks  

#4 – WONDER WHEEL – Missed by neck in Suncoast return. Back-to-back bullets March 10 & 17.  

Into Mischief – Wonder Gal, by Tiz Wonderful – Trainer: Mark Casse – Next Start: Ashland

#5 –  OCCULT – Easily took Busanda at 9f Jan. 14. Breezed 5f in 1:00.95 at Belmont March 18. 

Into Mischief – Magical Feeling, by Empire Maker – Trainer: Chad Brown – Next Start: Gazelle  

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