(Tarifa / Photos by Holly M. Smith)

It is Kentucky Oaks Day. For the 150th time, Churchill Downs will host the world’s best and most historic race for the 3-year-old fillies.

It is part magical. It is part tradition. And, it is rich with stories of yesteryear and hopes of brighter things tomorrow. It has all the right parts.

In this sport, much of the focus is on the stallions and sires that enter the world of the breeding industry that is so much a part of the fabric of this Commonwealth. But, the mother, the dam, the one that raises the foal in most situations can be and is the most important ingredient in a horse’s pedigree and profile.

Today, at the 150th Kentucky Oaks, we will crown both a new Champion on the track, but also crown a possible broodmare who may just become one of the best blue hen moms this sport and industry will ever see — too. The future is bright.

Today, at the 150th Kentucky Oaks, we will witness one of the best fields to ever challenge for this title and watch them all square off for 11/8-miles around the Churchill Downs’ main track oval with both speed, character, guts and determination. While the sun may or may not make an appearance today, today is sure to be bright.

Today, at the 150th Kentucky Oaks, we will be part of history, and we will create both stories and memories that will last a lifetime for both the books and the fans.

The field is tremendous.

It will include the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner and the 2023 2YO Filly Champ in Just F Y I. She ran 2nd in the G1 Ashland Stakes last time out for her first loss ever, but she was game and running hard on a track that favored her opponents on that day. And, it was her first start off an extended layup. She will be better today. No doubt.

It will include Chad Brown’s brilliant Ways and Means, and it will include the G1 Ashland Stakes winner in Leslie’s Rose, who threw a tremendous performance at them just a race ago. She is a contender. No doubt.

It will include trainer Ken McPeek’s self-promoted and overly advertised filly, Thorpedo Anna, who has become “The Buzz.” If you listen to McPeek, he thinks he has not only a contender, but the winner. In his view? No doubts.

It will include Power Squeeze, who won the G2 Gulfstream Oaks, ahead of the worldly Ways and Means. It will include Into Champagne, who had a horrendous trip last time out and should be a forward threat when they reach the quarter pole today. Can she hold on? Can she hold on? Can she hold on? There’s no room for doubts, right?

It certainly appears to include all the ingredients for high drama; 5-star performances, glamor and high praise.

But it also will include trainer Brad Cox and his filly Tarifa.

Brad Cox knows how to train fillies, which can be difficult at times. He’s had a few of the best in the sport. Ever.

Brad Cox knows how to win the Kentucky Oaks, too. He won it in 2020 with Shedaresthedevil. He won it in 2018 with Monomoy Girl.

Tarifa, one of his two fillies in this year’s version, along with Gin Gin, knows how to win, too. She has made 5 career starts. She has won 4 times. Nice.

She has won three races in a row, including the G2 Fair Grounds Oaks in her last outing. Nice.

And, Tarifa, is bred to run all day with speed. Not many can boast both of those credentials.

To me, Tarifa is the Play of the Day in the 150th Kentucky Oaks.

I don’t underestimate the filly. She has the talent.

I highly respect the trainer. He has the talent to make his horse’s talents better.

I think that is the duo. That’s the combo. That, for me, is today’s daily double:

Brad Cox and Tarifa.