Trifecta Pick in Friday's Derby Appetizer Could Leave Good Taste

David Schwab

Tuesday, May 1, 2018 4:43 PM UTC

Tuesday, May. 1, 2018 4:43 PM UTC

The Kentucky Derby is the biggest event on Saturday's card at Churchill Downs, with $2 million in prize money, but the nation’s most recognized horse track also hosts a pretty big event Friday.

Horse Racing: Kentucky Oaks Free Trifecta Pick

The Kentucky Derby is open to 3-year-old thoroughbreds and is routinely dominated by colts. The Kentucky Oaks is designed to feature the best 3-year-old fillies as the perfect companion race to the annual “Run for the Roses” on the first Saturday in May.

The Oaks, a Grade 1 stakes race with a total prize purse of $1 million, will be contested Friday on Churchill Downs' dirt track at a distance of 1 1/8 miles.

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Friday's Kentucky Oaks

— Byron King (@DRFByronKing) April 30, 2018

The field for Friday’s main event is deep and wide with 14 of the top fillies in the nation. The post positions have been drawn and the morning-line odds have been posted in what appears to be a head-to-head matchup between the top two fillies, with 12 other entries fighting for third.

The horse at the top of the list at 2/1 odds is trainer Brad Cox’s Monomoy Girl, with jockey Florent Geroux slated to get the ride. I agree that this is the best filly in the field and my top choice as well. My only concern is her starting on the outside from the No. 14 post, but her overall speed should minimize any negatives this might cause. This Kentucky-bred filly is coming off an important victory in the Grade 1 Ashland Stakes on April 7 at Keeneland, beating Eskimo Kisses and Patrona Margarita. She covered the 1 1/16 miles on dirt in 1:43.74.

Going back to last season, this sire of Tapizar and Drumette has finished first in five of six events. She took second in the Grade 2 Golden Rod Stakes at Churchill Downs in her final race as a juvenile.

My second choice for the Oaks is trainer Bill Spawr’s Midnight Bisou. She will break from the No. 10 post with jockey Mike Smith aboard at 5/2 odds on the morning line. This Kentucky-bred filly has the field's highest Horse Racing Nation rating at 7.84. Her biggest victory of the year was April 7 in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks at Santa Anita Park. She covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.79, defeating Spectator and Thirteen Squared. After posting a pair of second-place finishes as a juvenile, she has gone a perfect three-for-three this season in three graded events.

Sired by Midnight Lute and Diva Delite, she also won the Grade 2 Santa Ynez at seven furlongs and the Grade 3 Santa Ysabel at 1 1/16 miles leading up to the Santa Anita Oaks.

Rounding out my trifecta play for this year’s Kentucky Oaks is Chocolate Martini at 12/1 odds, breaking from post No. 4. Trained by Thomas Amoss, this Kentucky-bred filly will have Javier Castellano on board. While her HRN rating of 4.79 is well down the list of Oaks entries, she caught my eye with her recent first-place effort in the Grade 2 Fair Ground Oaks on March 24 over the 1 1/16 miles. She outdueled Eskimo Kisses and Wonder Gadot in 1:44.44.

This was the major graded stakes debut for the pedigree of Broken Vow and Nicksappealinglady after placing in the money in two maiden claimers and an allowance race at this same track earlier in the year.

Free Kentucky Oaks Trifecta Pick: Monomoy Girl-Midnight Bisou-Chocolate Martini.

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