Kentucky Oaks 2023 Report: Southlawn Shines

Botanical cruises to victory in Bourbonette Oaks (Coady Photography)

By Jarrod Horak

Southlawn seemingly came out of nowhere and is suddenly prominent player on the road to Kentucky Oaks 2023. The daughter of Pioneerof the Nile was just 1-for-5 last year. She romped in her optional claiming return at Fair Grounds on Feb. 17, and stormed home from off the pace in a strong victory in the FG Oaks (G2) on March 25. She is getting good at the right time. The same cannot be said of Hoosier Philly. She started out like gangbusters in 2022 and has not come remotely close to that sharp form in a pair of sophomore starts. 

In other Oaks news, Botanical made it four straight all-weather victories at Turfway Park with an easy wire-to-wire score in the Bourbonette Oaks on March 25. Can she run on dirt? We will find out on the first Friday in May. 

Flying Connection, a daughter of Nyquist, is loving life in New Mexico. She won a stakes race at Zia Park last year, and exits back-to-back victories in the Island Fashion Stakes and Sunland Park Oaks. It is off to face much tougher foes in the Kentucky Oaks, and she should impact the pace under the Twin Spires. 

Kentucky Oaks 2023 Points Race Results

Fair Grounds Oaks (3-25-23): Southlawn

Christian d’Oro got out there in hopes of stealing this 5-horse Oaks prep, but Edgar Morales and Hoosier Philly were having none of that. The latter broke slow and underperformed in the Rachel Alexandra, and they probably overcompensated in this spot. The top two were in a battle, and Hoosier Philly won that skirmish, hit the front, and was the one to catch turning for home. Pretty Mischievous moved up to challenge and Hoosier Philly quickly relented. Pretty Mischievous was clear in the lane and briefly looked to be on her way to victory, but Southlawn suddenly emerged after enjoying a patient inside trip and kicked away to win by 3 1/2 lengths. Pretty Mischievous was clearly second best and The Alys Look was 8+ clear of a fading Hoosier Philly. The latter’s stock has fallen rapidly. She was sensational in a trio of wins in 2022 and was considered as a possible Derby hopeful prior to the Rachel Alexandra. She had some excuses in that race but was not his time. She just came up empty. Christian d’Oro pulled up and walked off after contesting the pace. The final time was 1:44.38 and the winner has gotten good in a hurry.  

Bourbonette Oaks (3-25-23): Botanical

Botanical was the favorite and Chris Landeros just went on with it from the get-go. There was pace in the paper race but nobody wanted the lead, so Botanical took the initiative and stayed clear throughout in a 2 1/2 length length triumph. Her stablemate Flashy Gem stalked outside and tried to make a race of it, but Botanical’s pace advantage was too big to overcome and she settled for a clear runner-up finish. Thirty Thou Kelvin rallied for the show and Miss New York and Ag Bullet also picked up Oaks points in the 10-horse field. The final time was 1:44.47 and the winner clearly loves the all-weather surface at Turfway. 

Sunland Park Oaks (3-26-23): Flying Connection

Local hope Flying Connection and California shipper Doinitthehardway were flying early. The former was a bit quicker and she ended up setting the pace. Baffert’s filly was the favorite and she chased hard from 2nd. Flying Connection had no intention on stopping and she put away Doinitthehardway, and she streaked across the line 2 1/14 lengths in front. Love Tank rallied to finish a clear 2nd and Don’t Get Pickled was far back early and chugged along for the show. Una Palabra was next and Doinitthehardway weakened to 5th. Cairo Moon and Foolish Delight trailed. The final time was 1:43.90.  

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 – Winner: Southlawn ($17.40)

Bourbonette Oaks (50-20-15-10-5) – March 25 – Winner: Botanical ($4.06)

Sunland Park Oaks (50-20-15-10-5) – March 26 – Winner: Flying Connection ($4.60)

GP Oaks (100-40-30-20-10) – April 1

Fantasy (100-40-30-20-10) – April 1

Ashland (100-40-30-20-10) – April 7 

Gazelle (100-40-30-20-10) – April 8 

SA Oaks (100-40-30-20-10) – April 8

Beaumont (10-4-3-2-1) – April 16 

Top 26 Kentucky Oaks Points Leaders (through 3-31-23)

103 Points: Pretty Mischievous

100 Points: Southlawn

70 Points: Wet Paint

70 Points: Botanical 

54 Points: The Alys Look

50 Points: Flying Connection

50 Points: Dorth Vader

50 Points: Mimi Kakushi

50 Points: Shidabhuti

48 Points: Wonder Wheel

45 Points: Hoosier Philly

35 Points: Red Carpet Ready

30 Points: And Tell Me Nolies

21 Points: Gambling Girl

20 Points: Dreaming of Snow

20 Points: Condensation

20 Points: Miracle

20 Points: Flashy Gem

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


Jarrod Horak’s Fabulous Five Kentucky Oaks 2023 Contenders (3-31-23)   

#1 – JULIA SHINING – Demoiselle winner 3rd in Suncoast return. 4f breeze in 50.43 March 31. 

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

#2 –  OCCULT – Easily took Busanda at 9f Jan. 14. Breezed 4f in 48.48 at Belmont March 31. 

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

#3 – WONDER WHEEL – Missed by neck in Suncoast return. Breezed 4f at KEE March 30.  

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

#4 – SOUTHLAWN – Rapidly improving filly was sharp from off the pace in FG Oaks. 

Pioneerof the Nile – Mo d’Amour, by Uncle Mo – Trainer: Norm Casse – Next Starts: KY Oaks 

#5 – PRETTY MISCHIEVOUS – Rachel Alexandra winner second best in FG Oaks.  

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

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