On the eve of the Kentucky Derby, there will be another Grade 1 taking place as thoroughbred fillies aged three will be competing for the Kentucky Oaks.
The race has been a part of the American schedule since being introduced in 1875, with all horses carrying a weight of 121 pounds.
The race takes place at Churchill Downs, and will be competed over a distance of 1 1/8 miles. Horses involved will be competing for their share of the $1.25 million prize pot, with the winner getting $750,000 of the share.
Travel Column is the current ante-post favourite for the race, but Malathaat could be one that gamblers will be keeping a very close eye on.
Malathaat Furthers Her Claims
Malathaat has always been a horse that has been kept in high regard, but she looks set to finally challenge for the top honour after an impressive performance last time out at Keeneland.
She won the Central Bank Ashland Stakes on her last start, as she saw off Pass The Champagne and Will’s Secret, who will also be lining up for the Kentucky Oaks at the start of next month.
That Grade 1 victory was the fourth straight victory for the three-year-old, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to look past the Todd Pletcher-trained filly.
That run at Keeneland was her first start in 119 days, and was a sign that she hadn’t lost any of her hunger on the track after winning three straight races at the back end of 2020.
On her second start in November last year, she won a Listed race as Aqueduct, before she claimed a first graded success in the form of the Grade 2 Demoiselle Stakes in December.
At Aqueduct, she was able to claim the win by three-quarters of a length from Millefeuille. Her form has been excellent over the past 12 months, and she could be an outstanding chance for a fourth Kentucky Oaks success for Pletcher.
Travel Column Still Leads The Betting
Brad Cox has trained two of the previous three winners of the Kentucky Oaks, and his leading chance this season will be Travel Column. The three-year-old has already recorded past success at Churchill Downs, as she won her maiden at the track, as well as the Grade 2 Golden Rod Stakes back in November. The track is certainly one that she has performed excellently on in the past, but her first runs this term have been contrasting.
She returned to the track finishing second at Fair Grounds behind Clairiere in the Grade 2 Rachel Alexandra Stakes. On that occasion, she was beaten by a neck, but she responded excellently on her most recent run, as she beat the same horse by two and three-quarter lengths to claim the Fair Grounds Oaks.
That recent run highlights that she is still a very credible threat, and it will be a fascinating battle between the two horses at the top of the market.
Clairiere Leads Other Leading Contenders
Clairiere has already recorded success against Travel Column in the past, and will also be a direct threat in the Kentucky Oaks. She has come up against the Cox-trained horse on three occasions, and has won once and finished second twice. Her win earlier in the season means that she will be one that gamblers will be tempted by.
Crazy Beautiful is another leading contender, for trainer Kenneth McPeek. The three-year-old returned to the track in February, and finished six and a half lengths behind Wholebodemeister.
However, she looked dominant on her most recent run, as she finished over two lengths clear of Millefeuille in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Oaks.
There you have it, our favorites for the Kentucky Oaks. If you fancy your chances of guessing the winner of any of the races in the Derby, click here to see the current odds: https://www.twinspires.com/kentuckyderby/odds