Let’s Hear it for the Kentucky Oaks
By Dana Byerly, Hello Race Fans Co-founder
One week from today, the Kentucky Oaks will be run for the 138th time. What’s the Kentucky Oaks you ask? It’s a million dollar Grade 1 race for 3-year-old fillies that has a long tradition of creating champions, that’s what!
Inaugurated in 1875, the same year as the Kentucky Derby, the Kentucky Oaks lives in the shadow of its more famous contemporary, at least on the national stage. Locally in Louisville Oaks Day, the Friday before the Kentucky Derby, is a well attended and highly anticipated event.
In recent years winners such as Rags to Riches (2007), Rachel Alexandra (2009) and Blind Luck (2010) have gone on to provide some of the most electrifying moments in recent years. Last yearâ€™s Kentucky Oaks winner Plum Pretty just kicked off her 4-year-old campaign with a resolute win in the Apple Blossom Stakes (chart) at Oaklawn Park. Given the talented fillies of the past few years, it would not be a surprise if owners and trainers with 3-year-old colts were relieved when the purse for the Kentucky Oaks was raised to $1 million in 2011, lessening the likelihood that someone with a talented filly would enter the Derby instead of the Oaks.
This yearâ€™s Kentucky Oaks will be televised on NBC Sports Network from 5pm – 6pm ET on Friday May 4. While there’s not a ton of commentary on the Kentucky Oaks contenders this year (blame a solid Derby field for that!), you can keep track of the commentary on your favorites using these links to Raceday 360 Wire:
Or you can follow all of the Kentucky Oaks commentary here and grab the free 2012 Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby contender past performances from our partner, Brisnet.com.
If youâ€™re not that familiar with the history of the Kentucky Oaks, we have a couple of pieces just for you.
Many Glittering Careers
The Kentucky Oaks has a habit of producing Hall of Famers â€“ although they did not necessarily always win the race.
Oaks winners in 3-year-old classics
Anyone who has started paying attention to racing in the last 2-3 years would think itâ€™s a regular occurrence for fillies and mares to run against males and win. In other countries itâ€™s quite common for females and males to run in mixed company but in the U.S. the trend comes and goes. So far weâ€™ve already had one serious Oaks contender take on males when On Fire Baby ran in the Smarty Jones Stakes (chart), so itâ€™s back on trend! Find out how Oaks winners have fared in 3-year-old Classics through the years.
And what of a filly Triple Crown?
There is no filly Triple Crown on the national stage, but New York has a shape-shifting racing series for 3-year-old fillies called the Triple Tiara. Last yearâ€™s Breedersâ€™ Cup Ladies Classic winner Royal Delta almost became the first filly since Sky Beauty to win it!
We also have a profile of Silverbulletday, winner of the 1999 Kentucky Oaks.
Looking to play the 2012 Kentucky Oaks? We suggest signing up for Twinspires
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Lifetime Past Performances for all of your favorite Thoroughbred race horses are available from our partner, Brisnet.com!