Iowa Oaks (Prairie Meadows) Predictions, Picks, Betting Odds

If you're playing only to win, go with my top pick: Army Wife (5/2)!

Iowa Oaks Post Position and Odds

Check out our predictions and odds for the Iowa Oaks at Prairie Meadows!

PP Horse Odds Jockey Trainer
1 ARMY WIFE 5/2
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J Rosario M Maker
2 PAULINE’S PEARL 2/1
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R Santana Jr S Asmussen
3 SISTER ANNIE 6/1
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F Geroux B Cox
4 SHESA MYSTERY 12/1
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D Cabrera J Hiles
5 THE GRASS IS BLUE 5/1
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J Alvarado W Mott
6 OLIVIAOFTHEDESERT 6/1
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S Laviolette K McPeek
7 WINDMILL 8/1
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A Birzer J L Jones

Graded stakes winners Pauline’s Pearl and Army Wife have drawn the first two spots in the starting gate as they headline a field of seven 3-year-old fillies set for Friday’s Grade 3 Iowa Oaks at Prairie Meadows.

A beautifully bred daughter of Tapit, Pauline’s Pearl became a graded stakes winner two starts back for trainer Steve Asmussen when she won the Grade 3 Fantasy at Oaklawn Park as the 4/5 favorite. Most recently, she faded to eighth against the best in the division in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs.

Chief among her rivals in the 1 1/16-mile test is the Mike Maker trained Army Wife. No worse than third in five career starts on the dirt, the daughter of Declaration of War scored her first career stakes win in her most recent start, impressively winning the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan at Pimlico on Preakness weekend.

Others who should merit serious respect in Friday’s Iowa Oaks include the Busanda winner, The Grass is Blue; the top two finishers from the local Panthers Stakes, Oliviaofthedesert and Sister Annie; as well as the stakes-winning sprinter, Windmill.

Best Bets for the Iowa Oaks

Here are my plays ($42 in total)

$10 Exacta Box – Army Wife and Pauline’s Pearl = $20

$5 Exacta Box – Army Wife and Oliviaofthedesert = $10

$2 Trifecta Key – Army Wife over Oliviaofthedesert, Pauline’s Pearl and Sister Annie = $12

Iowa Oaks Top Pick

Our Pick
Top Pick Army Wife (5/2)
Best Pick Odds provided by TwinSpires
Army Wife (5/2) Bet Now

How to Watch the Iowa Oaks

Iowa Oaks Race Information
What Iowa Oaks (Grade 3)
Location Prairie Meadows
Time Friday, July 2 — 9:42 pm Eastern time
How to Watch TVG
Purse $225,000

Race Analysis

Pauline’s Pearl

Perhaps the filly most tested for class in the Iowa Oaks, she improved to the point of getting a shot against the best in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks. She wasn’t quite up to the task that afternoon at Churchill Downs, but all in all, it was not a bad effort. On Friday evening, she will find a class break, and her trainer-jockey combination has come to Prairie Meadows for success before. With a little more tactical speed than her main rival, she should get the first jump and have every chance at the top of the lane. She is clearly a big threat in here, but I like Army Wife just a tiny bit more.

Army Wife


After an unexciting start to her career while on the turf, this bay filly has become really good on the dirt. Running against solid competition throughout, she has three wins, a second, and a third in five tries on the main track. Two starts back, she suffered through a poor trip and slow pace to finish third behind the topnotch Search Results, and she followed that up with an easy win in the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan. There should be just enough pace in here for her to pick up the horse on the turn and be in position at the head of the lane. It helps that Joel Rosario will once again be in the saddle. Given her recent form, she is the top pick.

The Grass is Blue

This will be her third consecutive try against my top pick and Army Wife has beaten her in two straight. Two starts back, she wasn’t far behind, although I think her rival got the worst of the trip. Last time at Pimlico, she offered no competition but was likely hampered by a poor break. She’s better than that and could bounce back with a much-improved effort in here. But once again, I do not like her chances against Army Wife. A stakes winner, she is not without hope, but I am leaning elsewhere.

Oliviaofthedesert

A nice winner of the prep for this over Sister Annie, this experienced and well-traveled daughter of Bernardini has run plenty of good races so far in her 11-race career. She even has a win-over-the-top pick back in November of their 2-year-old seasons. With a win over the track, and a good closing punch, she looks like the most likely to give the top two a real run for their money. Having said that, I do believe that the top two have a bit of a class edge, but if one, or both, do not bring their best on Friday evening, she has the best chance of pulling the upset.

Sister Annie

You always have to pay attention to the trainer-jockey tandem of Brad Cox and Florent Geroux, and this one is a filly to consider. If you can draw a line through the slop race three starts back, she has become a consistent filly who is always involved from the outset. A sharp win against cheaper in Indiana was followed by a decent effort last time locally. This only gets tougher, though, as she will have to beat more than Oliviaofthedesert this time around. If she can take another step forward, she makes a lot of sense as an exotics filler.

Windmill

Her last race, when finishing well back in a salty allowance race at Churchill Downs was certainly a disappointment, but there is reason to believe she can bounce back. A solid stakes winner while sprinting early in the season, she was not up to the major task in the Grade 2 Eight Belles on Kentucky Derby weekend. That was an extremely tough spot, though. Either she was discouraged from it, or she did not like being behind horses on the inside last time. On Friday, I expect her to be out there on the lead early. While I don’t love her chances to go all the way, I would not be shocked if she runs a big race.

Shesa Mystery

After a dull debut on the synthetic main track at Turfway Park, this daughter of Verrazano bounced back with two decisive victories on dirt in her next two starts. Both came at Indiana Downs in a maiden and an allowance respectively. Undefeated on dirt, she has potential to be a stakes caliber filly, but I’m betting the jump up in class to Friday’s Iowa Oaks will be just a little more than she is ready for.

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Brian Zipse

Expert on Horse Racing

Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.

Email: [email protected]