Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Untapable (#23) has turned a dazzling romp in last Saturday’s Grade III Rachel Alexandra at Fair Grounds into status as the co-favorite with the always popular Mutuel Field (#24), or “All Others”, for Churchill Downs Racetrack’s only 2014 pool of the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager (“KOFW”), which opens its three-day run on Thursday, Feb. 27.
The impressive nature of Untapable’s Rachel Alexandra runaway and the fact that the filly is unbeaten in two races at Churchill Downs prompted Churchill Downs handicapper Mike Battaglia to install her as the 6-1 co-favorite with the ever-popular Mutuel Field for the Oaks pool, which will open at noon (all times Eastern) on Thursday.
The Kentucky Oaks Future Wager runs concurrent to Pool 3 of the 2014 Kentucky Derby Future Wager. Wagering will open in the Kentucky Oaks pool at noon (all times Eastern) on Thursday and is scheduled to conclude at post time for the $100,000-added Santa Ysabel (GIII) at Santa Anita, or 6 p.m., whichever comes first.
Betting on the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby Future Wager pools will be available at TwinSpires.com, the official advance-deposit wagering service for Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ: CHDN) and the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) and the Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI), and through other online wagering platforms. Both wagers will also be offered a racetracks and satellite wagering centers across North America.
The 140th running of the $1 million guaranteed Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI) is scheduled for Friday, May 2 at Churchill Downs. The race will be televised nationally on the NBC Sports Network.
The Steve Asmussen-trained Untapable emerged as a major contender for the Kentucky Oaks after her dominant victory in the 1 1/16-mile Rachel Alexandra under jockey Rosie Napravnik. Untapable rolled by 9 ½ lengths and completed the distance in 1:43.64 over a fast track.
The winning time for the daughter of Tapit was faster than the clockings for males in two stakes races run later in the day over the same track and distance at the New Orleans track. Intense Holiday, a contender for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI), turned back fellow 3-year-olds in 1:43.86 in the Risen Star (GII). The 4-year-old Bradester defeated older males in the Mineshaft Handicap (GIII) in 1:43.80.
Untapable opened her career with a pair of victories at Churchill Downs highlighted by a triumph in the Grade II Pocahontas in September. She then shipped to California to run a disappointing eighth of 10 in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI), but rebounded with a solid third-place run over a synthetic course in the Hollywood Starlet (GI) at Hollywood Park on Dec. 7. The Rachel Alexandra was her first outing since her two starts in California.
The Mutuel field includes all 3-year-old fillies other than the 23 individual horses listed the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager pool’s roster of wagering interests.
Close behind Untapable and “All Others” in Battaglia’s morning line are Charles Fipke’s homebred Unbridled Forever (#22), winner the Silverbulletday at Fair Grounds, and Glencrest Farm’s unbeaten Onlyforyou (#12), winner of the Davona Dale (GII) and Forward Gal (GII) at Gulfstream Park in her most recent outings. Both are listed as 8-1 co-third choices in the pool.
Other fillies that are expected to attract strong support in the Kentucky Oaks Futures pool include Arnold Zetcher and Michael Tabor’s Fashion Plate (#7, 10-1), winner of the Las Virgenes (GI) at Santa Anita; unbeaten Dame Dorothy (#6, 12-1), a Todd Pletcher-trained daughter of Bernardini owned by popular chef Bobby Flay; Del Mar Debutante (GI) winner She’s A Tiger (#18, 15-1), disqualified to second after she hit the finish line first in the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI); House Rules (#10, 20-1), runner-up in the Davona Dale trained by Hall of Famer H. Allen Jerkens; Ria Antonia (#15, 20-1), the winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies via the disqualification of She’s A Tiger and fourth to Untapable in her 2014 debut in the Rachel Alexandra; and Sweet Reason (#20, 20-1), the Spinaway (GI) winner who was second in the Frizette (GI) and fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies for New York-based trainer Leah Gyarmati.
Three members of the Kentucky Oaks Future pool are scheduled to compete later in the week. Rosalind (#16), third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies for trainer Kenny McPeek, and Bird Maker (#4), runner-up in the Golden Rod (GII) at Churchill Downs for trainer Ian Wilkes, will meet on Thursday in a 1 1/16-mile allowance optional claiming race for 3-year-old fillies at Gulfstream Park.
The Bob Baffert-trained Awesome Baby (#3), winner of Santa Anita’s Santa Ynez (GII), is expected to compete on Saturday in the 1 1/16-mile Santa Ysabel (GIII) at Santa Anita.
Pletcher, whose victory with King of Prussia Stable’s Princess of Sylmar in 2013 was his third Kentucky Oaks triumph, trains six of the 23 individual horses in the 2014 KOFW pool. Along with Onlyforyou and Dame Dorothy, Pletcher’s roster of trainees features Got Lucky (#9), Our Amazing Rose (#13), Stopchargingmaria (#19) and Sweet Whiskey (#21).
The Kentucky Oaks Future Wager enables racing fans to bet on contenders for the Longines Kentucky Oaks, America’s premier race for 3-year-old fillies, weeks in advance of the race at odds that could be much more attractive than those available on the day of the race. The wager permits $2 minimum win bets and $2 exactas, which are available in $1 minimum increments in boxes and other multiple number configurations.
No scratches or betting refunds are permitted in the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager. Betting on an individual filly in the pool will be suspended immediately if Churchill Downs determines during the pool that injury, illness or other circumstance would prevent the horse from competing in the Oaks.
Individual betting interests for the Kentucky Derby Future Wager pools are established by a committee that includes veteran racing journalist Gary West; Brad Free, a West Coast correspondent for the Daily Racing Form and HRTV; Ed DeRosa, director of marketing for BRISNET; and John Asher, vice president of Racing Communications for Churchill Downs.
Real-time odds and other information on the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager will be available at the official event Web site at www.KentuckyOaks.com.