(Wet Paint and The Alys Look / Photos by Holly M. Smith)

Days Results 10 / 5-3-5
2023 Overall — 629 629 / 218-203-274
Win % of Top Pick 34.66%
Payoff % of Top 3 Picks Overall 36.83%
2023 Only / Top Pick in the Money Overall — 385-629 61.21%
2023 Only / Top Pick in the Money @ HI 20-30 66.67%
2023 Only / Top Pick Wins @ HI 12-30 40.00%
2023 Only / Top Pick in the Money @ CD 7-10 70.00%
2023 Only / Top Pick Wins @ CD 5-10 50.00%
2023 Only / “Key Horses” @ KEE 2 / 2-0-0 100.00% Win / 100.00% ITM
2023 Only / “Key Horses” @ TP 45/21-8-4 46.47% Win / 73.33% ITM
2023 Only / “Key Horses” @ FG 5/1-1-1 20.00% Win / 60.00% ITM
2023 Only / “Key Horses” @ GP 6/6-0-0 100.00% Win / 100.00% ITM
2023 Only / “Key Horses” @ OP 2/1-1-0 50.00% Win / 100.00% ITM
2023 Only / “Key Horses” @ HI 1/0-0-0 00.00% Win / 00.00% ITM
2023 Only / “Key Horses” Overall 84/38-16-8 45.24% Win / 73.81% ITM

(Stats to be updated after Churchill Downs’ card on this Thursday “Thurby” extravaganza)

Here’s our looks for this year’ Kentucky Oaks Day:

1st: 12-8-6/5-1/7-11-9/3-4/2-10…Forever After All (12) gets the nod in the ole’ lid-lifter on this KY Oaks Day celebration. The 4YO Connect filly is still looking for the first win, but does have 4 runner-ups in the first 6 outings. Has 2 runner-ups here over this strip, too. Worry is that this one may hang in the late going. But the blinkers go back on for the first time since the inaugural start, and gets a new rider who certainly knows this racetrack. Barn wins with .11% when racing for the 2nd time off a layoff. One to beat. Back to Gridlock (8) ran 2nd at GP on the first start for a top-ranked barn operation, which has won with .27% of 203 starts this year. Gets a top shelf rider. May improve with at this longer distance. Threat. Destine to Race (6) has the top rider in the free world and the trainer is world class young lady, who knows how to train a racehorse. This one ran 2nd at KEE on April 13 at long-distance odds. May improve off that effort. Chance. I bet the 12-8 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exactas. I will key the top 3 numbers over/under the 5-1 in two smaller units. 

2nd: 9-11/2-12/6-10-7/14-3-5-13/4-8-1…Undervalued Asset (9) will get Lasix for the first time and the barn is one of the best in the game today. Rider is the tops. Drops out of the Graded Stakes company back into the allowance ranks and that should help here. May improve with a return to the sprint distance, too. Work here on April 29 was spot on. Looks salty in this spot. Very salty. Vahva (11) is a daughter of Gun Runner and has run well in the first 6 starts to her career. Has hit the board in 4 of those 6. Trainer is having a super year, winning at a .20% rate after the first 105 starts to 2023. Must use with a top rider staying in the saddle. I bet the 9-11 across the board and then box these two sternly in the exactas. I will key the 9-11 over/under the 2-12-6-10-7 in two smaller units. 

3rd: 6-1/18-13/8-10-2-14/3-9-12/11…The first sod race of the day and here’s hoping that the rains stay away, stay away and come another day. If it stays on the grass, I will ante up with Point Me By (6). This 5YO son of Point of Entry comes in off a super 2nd at KEE on April 13. That was the first start since last November. Barn wins with .10% in the 2nd effort of the layup. Gets a world-class rider up for the first time. Smokin’ T (1) goes for a HOF trainer, who is off to a good start in 2023. HOF rider takes the reins for the first time since riding him last July in NY. Has only 1 win in 9 starts over the sod, so far, and will have to pick it up in the late going to have a better result here. Sharp work on April 24 and looks possible. If it comes off the turf? I saddle up with Creative Minister (18), who did run 3rd in the G1 Preakness Stakes. I bet the 6 across the board and double down on the win wager. I will box the 6-1 in the exactas. I will key the 6-1 over/under the 18-13-8-10-2-14 in two smaller units. 

4th: (16)-7-13/1-9-15/12-4-8/2-3/6-14…Mouffy (16) could be a tough out here, if the 4YO Uncle Mo can get in. Is parked in the AE List right now. But this one has run 3 super nice races to begin the career and despite the fact that she has not raced in over a year now, she looks the part and is training well. My pick. If in. If not? I will divert to Heartyconstitution (7). This 4YO returned from a lengthy layoff to win on March 15 over the grass at the Fair Grounds. Super effort in first sod try. Now gets Kentucky’s best rider. Look out. Into Disco (13) is a 4YO daughter of the great Into Mischief and will be on the move early in this affair. Won the last two and the barn wins with .28% when returning to the gate off a victory. I bet the 16 if in. If not, I will bet the 7 across the board and then box the 7-13 in the exactas. I will key the 7-13 over/under the 1-9-15-12-4-8 in two smaller units. 

5th: 4-1/2/5-3//7/6…G2 Alysheba Stakes…This is the first of seven Stakes events carded at the big oval on Friday. West Will Power (4) may be the best horse in training these days. This 6YO has hit the board in 6 straight Stakes events and has won 3 in that mix. Coming off a huge win, by nearly 5 lengths, in a G2 event in New Orleans. Has a 1-1-0 record in two previous tries here. Ran 2nd to the very nice Proxy here in the G1 Clark Handicap last November. Has speed and will be the one to catch when they reach the quarter pole. Art Collector (1) over-powered the field in the G1 Pegasus World Cup at GP on Jan. 28. Ran off in the stretch with the new rider leading the cheers. Came back to run 2nd as the odds-on favorite last time out and lost by a fistful to our top pick. Hard to see where this one can pick up that many lengths. But, he is good, too. I bet the 4 across the board and double down on the win wager. I will box the 4-1 in the exactas. I will key the 4-1 over/under the 2-5-3 in two smaller units. 

6th: 6-7-4/8-2-1/3-5/9…G3 Modesty Stakes…This is a 11/8-mile test over the sod and I think this one is wide open — among the Chad Brown horses, alone. I give the slight edge to McKulick (6). This is a Great Brit-bred filly who has not been seen at the races since running a bang-up 2nd in the G1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at KEE last October. In 8 career starts, this one has a mark of 3-4-1. If ready — and this barn gets them ready — will be a tough out late. Shantisara (7) is another from the barn of Chad Brown and this one has a win in a G2 at Tampa Bay on March 11. In 9 career starts over the sod? Has a 4-3-0 mark. Wont the QE II at KEE — in 2021. Back class is classy. Sparkle Blue (4) could show up here. Has been off since December, but the barn wins with .21% of the last 192 who have not raced in 90+ days. Gets a top grass rider, who can finish a race. Chance. I bet the 6-7 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exactas. I will key the 6-7 over/under the 4-8-2-1 in two smaller units. 

7th: 6-8-9/7-2-1/3-4-5…G2 Eight Belles Stakes…This Stakes is named after one of the best fillies I ever had the chance to witness. Suffered a fatal injury when pulling up after a terrific race in the KY Derby. Red Carpet Ready (6) has won 3 of the first 4 races and has a 3rd to add to the impressive resume. Rider is red hot, going 7-5-4 in the last 24 mounts. May improve with a return to the sprint distance, where she won the G3 Forward Gal at GP just two starts ago. Broke the MSW here by 10 lengths last October. That’s getting the job done. Accede (8) goes from a MSW win right to a G2 Stakes. That sets off all kinds of handicapping alarms. Unless you read the line where the trainer is listed. Has speed. Can throw down. And, the barn wins with .20% in Graded Stakes races over the last 596 starts. OK. Munnys Gold (9) is a Florida-bred who will step out and run up against open company here. Really good company, too. Will have to bring the “A-Game.” I bet the 6 across the board and double down on the win wager. I will box the top 3 numbers in the exactas. I will also key the 6-8 over/under the 9-7-2-1 in two smaller units. 

8th: 11/1-12/8/2-9/3//6…Unbridled Sidney Stakes…This is a 5.5-furlong sprint over the sod, and I will go with my first “Key Play of the Day” in Caravel (11). This 6YO mare goes for the best trainer in the free world these days. Bar(n) none. Man can get and keep his horses at the races at a very premium level. And, this one is no different. Came off a layoff to win the G2 Shakertown at KEE on April 8. If she does NOT bounce, look for improvement here and she is 9-for-13 at this specialty distance. Only one previous run here. That was in the G2 Turf Sprint last May 6. Never got engaged in that one. And, never showed. Has speed and wants the front. I bet the 11 to win/place and double down on the win wager. I will key the 11 over/under the 1-12-8-2-9-3 in the exactas. More with the 1-12 than the rest. 

9th: 4-10-2/8-1/9-7/6//3…G1 La Troienne Stakes…This is a route Stakes that will be contested over the main track at 11/16-miles. I go with last year’s KY Oaks winner — Secret Oath (4). This 4YO daughter of Arrogate loves it here. Has 2 wins and a 3rd in 4 tries over this surface. Distance is perfect. She is 4-1-1 in 7 starts. Gets a rider who has a win and a just-miss 2nd in two rides so far. Looks the part. Acts the part. Is the big part of this race equation. A Mo Reay (10) has developed into a different type of race filly since being transferred to the barn of super trainer Brad Cox. Has made 3 starts for this barn. Has 3 wins. Hard to beat that. Loves this distance and will make the home track debut here. Search Results (2) is not to be dismissed here. This 5YO Flatter mare ran poorly in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff at KEE last November, but that was against insurmountable odds. Before that? Ran in 9 straight Graded Stakes. Won 4 of them. Has a 2nd in only previous try here. May get lost in the luster and shuffle of the odds deck. But a must use for me. I bet the 4-2 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exactas. I will key the top 3 numbers over/under the 8-1 in two smaller units. 

10th: 3-11-5/2-9/6-8/1-7/10//4…G2 Edgewood Stakes…This is a 11/16-mile grass event and I will saddle up with Cairo Consort (3). Ultra consistent 3YO daughter of Cairo Prince and has a 4-2-3 mark in 10 lifetime tries. Has run 4 times this year. Already. Wow. And, has a 2-1-1 record. Nearly got to the wire first last time out after a horrendous trip. Gets a new rider here. Look out. Just look out. Revalita (11) goes for Chad Brown and this one came from nowhere to be 4th in the G3 Herecomesthebride Stakes on March 4 to start the new year. Will be coming in the very late stages. With a clean trip? Big shot. Preliminary (5) will be moving up after a MSW win in only previous try. Now, goes in a G2. Another Chad Brown. Irad Ortiz, Jr. picks this one to ride, too. Trainer is 3-1-2 in the last 8 ups. Can’t leave out. I bet the 3-11 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exactas. I will key the top 3 numbers over (only) the 2-9 in a smaller unit. 

11th: 7-14-2/5-11-16-13/4-9/3-6-8-12/15…G1 KY Oaks…I have loved Wet Paint (7) from the very beginning. Not going to leave her now. No way. Especially considering that this trainer is known for his “special touch” with the gals. Has already won 3 KY Oaks in a career on the rise. This gal has been invincible on the “off track.” Has tried those 3 times. Won them all. Rain in the forecast for Friday, too. Take note. But this daughter of Blame (whom I just love as a sire) can tote the mail over a dry track, too. Kicked some serious butt in the G3 Fantasy at Oaklawn Park last time out. Will come late. Very late. Will need a clear path. Pretty Mischievous (14) has two wins and a 3rd over this strip and just loves being at home. Work here on April 27 was spot on. Spot. on. Has the breeding. Has the rider. Has the ingredients. Got to use. Got to, even with the outside post. The Alys Look (2) may be the surprise of this field. Won at the Fair Grounds two races back and looked poised to make a huge run in the G2 Fair Grounds Oaks. But got a very strange trip that day, for some reason. Feel well back and off the leaders and and a stuttering start and stop to the engine once she was asked. A toss race for me. Completely. This one looks and acts a lot like Shedaresthedevil, according to my friend and great photographer Holly M. Smith. That is good enough for me. Wonder Wheel (5) is still the 2022 2YO Champ. Last race was a debacle. Wanted to go early and got restrained. Mightily. Gets a new rider here. That could help recharge the batteries. I’ll give another shot. Defining Purpose (11) won the G1 Ashland. That’s a lot of race to win, despite her long odds. Bouncer? I think so. Toss for me. Julia Shining (16) probably won’t get in from the AE List. A toss. Affirmative Lady (13) has won two in a row and may be getting good at just the right time. Stretches out some more, but I use this one. Gambling Girl (3) may be the longshot that shocks. This one ran huge in the G3 Gazelle and will be coming in the late going, too. She is a NY-bred, and that hurts her chances. Just does. But she may have enough late kick in the tank to grab part of the exotics here. Upset Alert. So what to do? I bet the 7-14 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exactas. I will also box the 7-14-2-3 in another exacta and trifecta box, too. I will key the 7-2-3 over/under the 14-5-11-13 in two smaller units. 

12th: 6-1-8/7/2-5-9/11/10/3-4…The first race after the Oaks is an Optional-Claimer going 11/16-miles. While the fans exit and the traffic jams up and jelly tight, I will go with Guns n’ Graces (6). This 3YO Gun Runner filly will get Lasix for the first time and this one drops out of the Ashland Stakes to tackle allowance types again. All I need to know. I bet the 6 across the board and then double down in the win wagers. Maybe triple down. I will box the top 3 numbers in the exactas. I will key the 6 over/under the 1-8-7-2-5-9 in two smaller units. 

13th: 11-12/14-13-6-2-1/3-8-10/7-15-16/5-9…The Oaks Day finale is a 7-furlong test for the MSW level. I go with the outside — Twin Mischief (11) and Pitch Clock (12). The former ran a huge 2nd last time out and just missed at the wire. Top finishing rider will push towards the line here. The latter goes for Chad Brown and will get Lasix for the first time. Could be a huge day for the “Chadster.” Tired in the career debut over the mud at Aqueduct. Learned a lot that day. Barns wins with .25% of the last 240 to make the 2nd career start. I will be the 11-12 across the board and then box these two sternly in the exactas. I will key the 11-12 over/under the 14-13-6-2-1 in two smaller units. 

Good Luck & All the Best / Gene