Paradise Woods Gets Golden Spot in Kentucky Oaks Draw

Kentucky Oaks Sheet
The Kentucky Oaks will be held on Friday at 6:12 p.m. ET.

If things have not been coming up rosy – well, pinkish – enough, the connections of Paradise Woods got another stroll in the pines on Tuesday at the Kentucky Oaks post drawing.

Paradise Woods, the walk-away winner of the Santa Anita Oaks in her last outing, drew the No. 4 post position in a field of 14 3-year-old fillies for Friday’s Oaks at Churchill Downs.

It could not have been better for a filly that has impressed everyone since she entered the starting gate for the first time only three races ago.

“She has come a long way fast,” said trainer Richard Mandella, who bases his operation on the West Coast. “She has only had three races, having been here before and left with my tail between my legs, I know that it is an obstacle to overcome the route here with an inexperienced filly, but we are going to do the best we can.”

The major competition for Paradise Woods, who was installed as the Morning Line favorite at 5-2 by track handicapper Mike Battaglia, appears to come from the shadows of three.

  • Farrell, ridden by jockey Channing Hill. She will break from the #7 post and brings 5-1 M/L odds to the gate.


  • Abel Tasman, with Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith in the irons, was switched to the Baffert barn earlier this year. She is the only filly that has been able to push the ultra-talented Unique Bella, since she broke her maiden. But Unique Bella is back home in California and will miss the Oaks, due to sore shins. Abel Tasman was installed at 5-1 M/L.


  • Salty, the Mark Casse trained filly from Florida, draws the 14 slot with jockey Joel Rosario up. Salty gets started at 6-1 M/L odds.


“I do like 7,” said Wayne Catalano, who trains Farrell. “I was schooling her in the paddock and I put her in the 7 every day, so we came out just like I was putting her in there. She’s doing good. We’re very happy with the post position and how she is doing everything.”

I was absolutely dancing into the Winner’s Circle. It was so exciting and Joel has been like one of my kids ever since he came from Bay Meadows. We tease each other a lot. We greet each other by grunting and everybody looks at us like, ‘what’s that all about’ but we’ve been doing it for years. So it’s wonderful to win with him. The owners are great people that really deserve something like this.

“This horse seems like he’s more adept at seven furlongs to a mile so I’m not sure he wants a mile and a quarter …

“I could tell my horse had won, but I was so excited in the stretch I thought I was gonna pass out.

“We are very happy with the way our horse had trained for this race, but it’s always scary when you get a look at those Baffert ‘Maseratis’, it pretty much unfolded the way we had hoped.

“The people that own this horse, they’ve got this colt a seven furlong-miler type maybe time will tell differently, but the other colt they are focusing on him going the two turns.”

  • Gene McLean

    Gene McLean

    Gene McLean began his professional career in 1977 as a sportswriter and columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader in Lexington, Ky., and was recognized as one of the state’s best writers, winning the prestigious “Sportswriter of the Year” honor in 1985. Now the President and Publisher of The Pressbox, McLean sets ...

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