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Friday, April 30: Jeff Siegel's Kentucky Oaks Day Picks

by Jeff Siegel

April 29, 2021

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6. This race-by-race analysis zeroes in on the Friday, April 30, 2021 13-race card on Kentucky Oaks Day at Churchill Downs.

The selections are posted at 6:00 a.m. and updated later in the morning to reflect late scratches and changes (approximately 10:30 a.m.). For additional commentary, follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.

Grade Descriptions: Grade A=Highest degree of confidence; Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred or pass; Grade X=probable winner but likely at odds too short to play.

RACE 1: Post: 10:30AM ET Grade: B
Use: 1-Favorite Sin; 2-Pop a Choc

Forecast: The Oaks Day card opener is a one-turn mile affair for first-level allowance fillies and mares that finds the main contention drawn inside. Favorite Sin has run well on the lead or from a second-flight stalking position so if she breaks cleanly regular rider C. Lanerie can assess the early pace flow and formulate a strategy. Fresh from earning a career top Beyer speed figure (and one that is par for this level), the daughter of Awesome Again likely has further improvement in her, and after a six week break that features a healthy work pattern in the interim the I. Wilkes-trained filly should fire her best shot. Pop a Choc makes her third start off a layoff and seems to be rounding back to her best form. The daughter of Bernardini has numbers from last summer that are good enough to win this condition and her stalking style seems ideally suited for this trip.

RACE 2: Post: 11:00AM ET Grade: B-
Use: 2-Front Street; 3-Kizzy B; 6-Seaside Retreat

Forecast: Here is another one-turn mile event, this one for maiden fillies and mares. Seaside Retreat, in the frame in all four starts and making her first start since early January, has trained steadily in recent weeks for Shug (solid stats with layoff runners) and will race with blinkers for the first time. She is not particularly fast on speed figures – none of these are - but could easily be better than shown and may have a higher ceiling than most of these. We will give her a slight edge on top. Kizzy B is a nine-race maiden and therefore not one to trust, but for whatever reason she has been routing most of her career despite evidence that suggests she is more comfortable around one turn. She makes a significant jockey change to I. Ortiz, Jr. and projects to be forwardly placed throughout and have every chance. Front Street may wind up being the controlling speed, and if not policed she could get brave and take her foes a long way. She earned a number three races back at this distance that, if repeated, is good enough to win. All three should be included in rolling exotic play.

RACE 3: Post: 11:30AM ET Grade: B
Use: 4-Australasia; 5-Zainalarab; 7-Amalfi Princess

Forecast: Australasia is an unbeaten Louisiana-bred filly tackling open company today for the first time, so we will find out just how good she is. Based strictly on speed figures. The daughter of Sky Kingdom is talented and versatile, having won sprinting and routing and on the lead or from a stalking position. The B. Cox-trained filly catches a field without too much early heat, so we suspect she will draft into a good pace-stalking position and then take on all challengers from the quarter pole home. Zainalarab won her only start last summer at Belmont Park in good style but then was stopped on. She returns for C. Brown (superb stats with layoff runners) with a work tab that should have her fit enough, so the daughter of War Front – a $1 million yearling purchase – is the likely choice and the one to beat. Amalfi Princess ran well to be third in the Beaumont S.-G3 at Keeneland earlier this month while earning a career top speed figure, and with another forward move today should at least hit the board and maybe do better than just that. She is a perfect one-for-one over the Churchill Downs main track and most likely will settle just behind the leaders and then have dead aim when it counts. In a tough, competitive race for the level, these are the three we will be using in our rolling exotics with a slight edge on top to Australasia.

RACE 4: Post: 12:05PM ET Grade: B
Use: 2-American West; 3-Illiogami; 10-Another Woman

Forecast: American West won her debut last fall, so we know she can fire fresh, and then in her second start she finished a good but distant second to the high-quality filly Malathaat in the Tempted Stakes before being given the remainder of the year off. She makes her 3-year-old debut in this allowance optional claimer for C. Brown (a spectacular 29% with layoffs) while adding Lasix and drawing nicely inside in this middle distance main track affair for 3-year-old fillies. Most of her sire’s get improve with age and distance, so we suspect this $925,000 yearling purchase by Curlin will do just that. Illiogami earned a strong speed figure – tops in this field – when breaking her maiden from off the pace over this trip at Keeneland last time out and if she can build on that effort today she will be the one to fear most. Another Woman is drawn a bit farther outside in post position 10 than we would prefer, but after breaking her maiden in her second career start at Gulfstream Park over seven furlongs last month she stretches out and adds blinkers while picking up J. Rosario. The daughter of Broken Vow is a strong fit based on her sprint figures so if she can negotiate a decent trip the W. Mott-trained filly certainly could be capable of winning on the one-level raise.

RACE 5: Post: 12:43PM ET Grade: B-
Use: 1-Temple; 5-Ramsey Solution; 10-Spooky Channel

Forecast: Temple has faced graded stakes competition in each of his last three starts and today tries easier company with a class drop to the third level allowance ranks. He is also shortening to a middle distance after a series off marathon events, and we suspect this turn back in trip (along with class drop) will bring out his best. Drawn comfortably inside and switching to J. Rosario, the M. Maker-trained colt will have every chance to regain his winning form. Ramsey Solution, unbeaten in two prior starts over the sand-based Churchill Downs grass course, does not necessarily need the lead to win but is especially difficult to beat when he is able to make the running. Successful in five of nine career starts, the son of Real Solution is eligible for this race only because he was entered for the $80,000 tag, so with recent numbers that are both fast and consistent the W. Ward-trained gelding is a “must use” in rolling exotic play. Spooky Channel also is eligible due to his entry for the listed claiming price and always has been thoroughly genuine and consistent in various stakes races. He has been primarily a marathoner but can act at this shorter nine furlong trip, and it must be noted that he was victorious in his only prior outing over the local turf course in a middle distance affair that produced a career top speed figure. We will use all three in our rolling exotics with a slight preference to Temple, but in a highly-contentious affair you may find the need to spread a little deeper.

RACE 6: Post: 1:26PM ET Grade: X
Single: 6-Maxfield

Forecast: Maxfield had his five-race unbeaten winning streak snapped when he finished third without mishap at even money in the Santa Anita Handicap-G1 in early March, but he did equal his career top Beyer speed figure when going down by two lengths to Idol, so we must conclude that he simply got outrun. This year’s edition of the Alysheba S.-G2 is a considerably easier assignment over a main track we know he likes (he is perfect in two starts), and the switch back to his original regular jockey J. Ortiz, Jr. won hurt, either. There will be no value to be found at or near his morning line of 4/5, so our strategy is to use him a short-priced rolling exotic single but otherwise pass the race.

RACE 7: Post: 2:09PM ET Grade: X
Single: 6-Aunt Pearl

Forecast: Aunt Pearl makes her sophomore debut in her first outing since concluding her unbeaten 2-year-old season with a victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf-G1 at Keeneland last November. Victorious in all three of her starts in gate-to-wire fashion, the daughter of Lope de Vegas appears to have trained well enough to be fit and ready for a barn that excels with comebackers (25%), and with a projected race flow that should allow her to easily gain her preferred trip the Irish-bred filly will be an extremely short price to pick up where she left off. She is another odds-on favorite that probably will win but will be too short to play, so we will use her as rolling exotic single and then simply enjoy the show.

RACE 8: Post: 3:03PM ET Grade: B
Use: 1-Envoutante; 2-Shedaresthedevil; 3-Dunbar Road

Forecast: We are hoping for a mild upset in the 2021 edition of the La Troienne S.-G1, an outstanding middle distance main track event for top class fillies and mares. Envoutante, fourth in the Azeri S.-G2 at Oaklawn Park last time out but beaten less than three lengths, is perfect in two prior outings at Churchill Downs, including a six-length romp in the Fall City S.-G2 last fall that earned a career top Beyer figure (one that equals the best produced by race-favorite Shedaresthedevil). She is daughter of Uncle Mo listed at 6-1 on the morning line, and from the rail she is guaranteed an ideal ground-saving, pace-stalking trip. If she is ever going to be good enough to win a race of this quality, today will be the day. Shedaresthedevil, winner of last year’s Kentucky Oaks and a perfect three-for-three over the Churchill Downs main track, returned off a five month layoff and held off Letruska to win the Azeri S.-G2 at Oaklawn Park last month, and then saw the form franked when Letruska returned to beat Monomoy Girl and Swiss Skydiver in the Apple Blossom S.-G1 earlier this month. Clearly, she is the one to beat. Though subjected to hard, taxing effort in the Azeri, the daughter of Daredevil has been given ample time to recover (more than six weeks) and her recent workouts indicate she spot on for another big effort. Dunbar Road, a closing third in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff G1 when last seen last fall, has a history of firing fresh and is a prior stakes winner over this track and distance in her only previous appearance. You have to use her somewhere.

RACE 9: Post: 4:04PM ET Grade: B+
Use: 8-Kalypso; 10-Dayoutoftheoffice; 12-Caramel Swirl

Forecast: Dayoutoftheoffice won her first three starts last year as a potential champion but could not quite see out the trip when weakening late to finish third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies-G1 in her first try around two-turns. She returns sprinting – this is what she wants to do – and if ready seems likely to outclass this field in an excellent renewal of the Eight Bells S.-G2 for sophomore fillies. The recent workouts – including a :58 flat five furlong drill at Keeneland last Friday - would appear to indicate that the daughter of Into Mischief has retained all of her speed and is ready to use it. The B. Baffert California shipper Kalypso is not nearly as fast on pure numbers as the favorite but like Dayoutoftheoffice is back sprinting where she belongs and was a graded stakes winner this winter at Santa Anita at this exact seven furlong distance. We are expecting the daughter of Brody’s Cause to run a career top today, but it remains to be seen if that will be good enough. Caramel Swirl is listed at 12-1 on the morning line and at that price is worth tossing in as saver or a backup in rolling exotic play. A big figure maiden winner at Keeneland earlier this month over seven furlongs, the W. Mott-trained daughter of Union Rags will have clear sailing outside and could be dangerous if held up early and allowed to run late. It has taken some good fillies to beat her and perhaps she is ready to finally beat a few good ones herself.

RACE 10: Post: 4:55PM ET Grade: B
Use: 3-Fiya; 9-Diamond Oops; 10-Sombeyay

Forecast: Fiya is a perfect five-for-five sprinting on grass during his brief but brilliant career and the Maryland-bred gelding can pick up where he left off in December when winning a Claiming Crown turf dash in his typical gate-to-wire fashion. This is his toughest assignment to date – for the first time he will be facing non-restricted company – but based purely on speed figures the son of Friesan Fire is quick enough to make the lead and keep on going. His recent work tab should have him plenty fit enough. Sombeyay is a California shipper trained by P. Miller – is there anybody more skilled than this trainer with sprinters, turf or dirt? – and seems to represent the most dangerous of the stalkers/closers contingent. The son of Into Mischief missed by a neck to Gregorian Chant in the San Simeon S.-G3 last time out and then saw that one come back to win again over the weekend in a good overnight affair. Diamond Oops won this race when it was staged last September, doing so with a furious late kick over a course with give in the ground that may be quite like what he will encounter in this race. Reunited with “win rider” F. Geroux, the P. Biancone-trained gelding often rises to the occasion when the stakes are high, so it would not be surprising to see the son of Lookin At Lucky make some serious noise at 5-1 on the morning line.

RACE 11: Post: 5:51PM ET Grade: B
Use: 6-Travel Column; 10-Malathaat; 12-Search Results

Forecast: Travel Column, victorious in the Fair Grounds Oaks in visually pleasing style last month, has the type of tactical speed that usually ensures a trouble-free, pace-stalking trip in this year’s renewal of the Kentucky Oaks-G1. The B. Cox-trained daughter of Frosted is fast on numbers and has the pedigree to excel at today’s nine furlong trip, plus she is unbeaten in two starts over the Churchill Downs main track, including a win last fall in the Golden Rod S.-G2. We will give her a very slight edge on top. Malathaat probably was not completely cranked up when winning the recent Ashland S.-G1 in her first start since December but with that effort to tighten her up the daughter of Curlin should be primed and ready for a career top performance. She does not own an exceptional turn of foot but can grind away forever and as such should continue to develop as the distances increase. She is back with Johnny V., who won the Demoiselle S.-G2 on her at this nine furlong distance last December for trainer T. Pletcher. Search Results has not yet beaten anything close to the level of either Travel Column or Malathaat so far in her perfect three race career but did run two fifths of a second faster at the same distance on the same day as the colts did in the Wood Memorial S.-G2, so that alone makes her dangerous. The C. Brown-trained filly projects to be in a good pace-stalking position outside and have her chance to show she belongs with the big girls in the division.

RACE 12: Post: 6:25 PT Grade: B
Use: 2-Mintd; 8-More Than Usual; 9-Woke Up to Aces

Forecast: More Than Usual is fast on figures and good enough to win this second-level allowance turf miler for fillies and mares with anything close to her highly impressive score two runs back at Fair Grounds. She wants to settle, get cover, and then produce a late kick and with that type of rider from F. Geroux the daughter of More Than Ready should be along in plenty of time. Mintd, away since July, returns for a stable that boasts superior stats with comebackers and this Irish-bred filly won her U.S. debut last year in her first start in 20 months so, yes, she can fire fresh. The B. Walsh-trained mare has done some good work leading up to this event, so we suspect she is extremely live and well-meant, especially with I. Ortiz, Jr. picking up the mount. Woke Up to Aces does not have the form to worry our top two picks but she will be lone speed and, for whatever it is worth, looked quite good demolishing a lesser field over the synthetic surface at Turfway Park last month. Two recent bullet workouts since that race catch the eye, so we will toss her in on a ticket or two for protection in rolling exotic play.

RACE 13: Post: 7:00 ET Grade: B-
Use: 3-Magic Quest; 10-Played Hard; 11-Callen’s Charisma

Forecast: Callen’s Charisma was five lengths clear of the rest when a willing runner-up in her debut at Gulfstream Park last month and seems sure to improve for W. Mott with that effort behind her combined with the major jockey switch to J. Rosario. The daughter of Munnings is comfortably drawn outside and projects to be on or near the lead throughout. Played Hard also was second in her only prior outing and is another that has every right to produce a forward move. She earned a bit better speed figure that on our top in her race Fair Grounds and maidens making their second start from this stable almost always step forward. Magic Quest missed by a neck in her debut at Keeneland earlier this month and is yet another that should be fitter and tighter today. The daughter of Nyquist exits a productive race and seems sure to flash the type of early speed that could make her the quickest in the field. These are the three we will be using equally in our rolling exotics.