Kentucky Oaks Predictions, Picks & Betting Odds (Churchill Downs)

Kentucky Oaks Odds and Post Position

Odds taken from TwinSpires

PP Horse Odds Jockey Trainer
1 SECRET OATH 6/1
BET HERE
L Saez D W Lukas
2 NOSTALGIC 15/1
BET HERE
J Ortiz W Mott
3 HIDDEN CONNECTION 20/1
BET HERE
R Gutierrez W B Calhoun
4 NEST 5/2
BET HERE
I Ortiz Jr T Pletcher
5 GODDESS OF FIRE 15/1
BET HERE
J Velazquez T Pletcher
6 YUUGIRI 30/1
BET HERE
F Geroux R Brisset
7 ECHO ZULU 4/1
BET HERE
J Rosario S Asmussen
8 VENTI VALENTINE 20/1
BET HERE
T Gaffalione J Abreu
9 DESERT DAWN 20/1
BET HERE
U Rispoli P D’Amato
10 KATHLEEN O. 7/2
BET HERE
J Castellano C McGaughey III
11 COCKTAIL MOMENTS 30/1
BET HERE
C Lanerie K McPeek
12 CANDY RAID 30/1
BET HERE
R Bejarano J K Desormeaux
13 SHAHAMA 15/1
BET HERE
F Prat T Pletcher
14 TURNERLOOSE 20/1
BET HERE
M Franco B Cox

Kentucky Oaks Predictions and Best Bets

Here are my plays ($80 in total)

$5 Trifecta Part Wheel – Secret Oath and Nest over Secret Oath and Nest over Hidden Connection, Echo Zulu, Venti Valentine and Kathleen O. = $40

$5 Trifecta Part Wheel – Secret Oath and Nest over Hidden Connection, Echo Zulu, Venti Valentine and Kathleen O. over Secret Oath and Nest = $40

If you’re playing only to win, go with my top pick Secret Oath (6/1)

Kentucky Oaks Predictions

Fresh off an open length romp in the Grade 1 Ashland Stakes, Nest was chosen as the 5-2 morning line favorite among a field of 14 entered in a wide-open edition of the $1.25 million Kentucky Oaks on Friday at Churchill Downs.

A four-time winner of the Kentucky Oaks, trainer Todd Pletcher will send three fillies to the starting gate in the Grade 1 Oaks. Leading the way will be Nest who has won three consecutive stakes races.

Prior to the impressive Ashland win, the daughter of Curlin accounted for the Suncoast Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs in February and Aqueduct’s Grade 2 Demoiselle in December.

The second choice on the morning line at 7-2 is the undefeated Kathleen O. from the Hall of Fame barn of Shug McGaughey.

Perfect in four career starts, the Upstart filly comes into the 9-furlong Kentucky Oaks off three consecutive stakes wins in South Florida, including the Grade 2 Davona Dale and Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Oaks.

Also unbeaten is Echo Zulu. A daughter of Gun Runner, the 2021 2-year-old filly champion capped off her perfect juvenile season with an easy win in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Del Mar.

Trained by Steve Asmussen, the 4-1 third choice on the morning line has made only one start so far in 2022, narrowly winning the Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks.

The last of the big four in the Kentucky Oaks is the D. Wayne Lukas-trained Secret Oath. A daughter of Arrogate, she comes into Friday’s big race having finished third against the boys in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby.

Before that the 6-1 fourth choice on the morning line had romped to easy victories in both the Martha Washington and Grade 3 Honeybee at Oaklawn Park.

Kentucky Oaks Predictions and Race Analysis

Nest

Last season, I saw this daughter of Curlin as still a work in progress, with the potential to be very good. This year, she has taken another step and has proven herself to be a very good filly. Just how good will be put to the test in this filly classic.

Unlike Secret Oath and Echo Zulu, there are still a few questions about who she has run against, but on the other hand, her win in the Ashland was a thing of beauty no matter the competition. She is also proven at the distance, which is still a question for her competition.

With a little more early speed than Kathleen O. and clearly getting better with each and every start, she is a big threat on Friday. She’s not my top pick, but I think she is the biggest danger.

Kathleen O.

This daughter of Upstart has been a late-running machine in her first four career starts. Coming from the clouds to win her debut at Aqueduct, she has impressively run down her competition in three consecutive stakes races at Gulfstream Park.

The Kentucky Oaks will be her class test, as she moves from beating decent fillies to running against the top of the line on Friday. I have little doubt that she will be passing horses once again, but beating them all will be difficult.

My belief is that her laterally will not look quite as impressive trying to out finish the likes of Secret Oath, Nest and Echo Zulu, but considering her first four starts, she is an obvious threat and one you cannot leave out of the exotics.

Echo Zulu

The champ should be fit and ready after a hard-earned victory in the Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks in her first start of the season. She was clearly the best young filly in the nation last year, but after a winter of maturing, it will be interesting to see if a few others have caught up with her.

The good news is that you will know where to find her early, as she will likely use her impressive early speed to go right to the front on Friday. There are a few fillies in here who could make her run a little faster than she wants, though.

I have great respect for the unbeaten champion, but after the last one, I do see an opportunity to beat her. It would come as no surprise if she wins again, but I am taking a shot against her in her toughest test yet.

Secret Oath


This daughter of Arrogate looked like the genuine article in dominating fillies in three straight starts at Oaklawn Park this winter for trainer D. Wayne Lukas. Her romp in the Honeybee was flattered when Yuugiri came back to win the Fantasy.

Last out, she tried the boys and was not disgraced at all in finishing third after a less than ideal trip in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby. This time she will have a new rider in Luis Saez, who will likely not let her drop so far back again.

She will have to work out a trip from her inside draw, but she has won from the inside before. I think she is prepared for this test and should run big on Friday. Offering some real value on the morning line, she is the top pick.

Nostalgic

An improving filly trained by Bill Mott, this daughter of Medaglia d’Oro finished nicely last time to go by Venti Valentine in the Grade 3 Gazelle at Aqueduct. It was her second straight solid win, after having romped in a Gulfstream Park allowance race in the start before that.

Perhaps she is improving to the point of making some real noise in this Grade 1 affair, but I do worry that another jump up in class while facing a big field might prove tough for her. One of several interesting longshots in the field, but I am going to pass on her here.

Goddess of Fire

The second filly trained by Todd Pletcher, this one has finished second in all three starts this year and is 0-for-5 overall in stakes attempts. In fact, she has been beaten by fillies in this field in four of her last five races.

Most recently, she tried hard, but could not stay with the powerful kick produced by Kathleen O. in the Gulfstream Park Oaks. She clearly has improved this year, but still looks a full cut below the best in this field.

Shahama

The third from the barn of Todd Pletcher, this one has won all four of her career starts, all of which came in Dubai. A half-sister to the champion Lookin at Lucky, she was clearly the best young filly at Meydan this winter, winning each race easily.

Her last victory came in the Grade 3 UAE Oaks, but was three months ago. With only a few workouts since coming to the United States, it’s hard to know if the Munnings filly will be sharp and at her very best on Friday.

Perhaps in an edition of the Oaks that is not this strong, I would like her better, but this looks like a very difficult spot for her American debut.

Venti Valentine

This daughter of Firing Line will have some big odds after running second last time in the Gazelle. It was a race that I believe she can improve upon.

After coming from behind in each of her three wins, she found herself on the lead early in that one, and was passed down the lane by an improving Nostalgic. In the Kentucky Oaks, she will once again get a chance to prove she is better coming from off the pace.

Late last year she gave Nest everything she wanted in the Grade 2 Demoiselle at this 9-furlong distance. Of all the longshots in Friday’s Oaks, this is the one that I like the best.

Hidden Connection

This daughter of Connect almost got to Echo Zulu last time, hitting the wire just a nose short in the Fair Grounds Oaks. Perhaps it was a case of the champ showing some rust after the layoff, but still it was a very solid effort in her second start of the year.

Last season, she romped home an easy winner in the Grade 3 Pocahontas, in her only previous start at Churchill Downs. Twice beaten by Echo Zulu, she deserves another shot at her after the last one and looks to be one of the live longshots in this loaded Kentucky Oaks field.

Desert Dawn

This surprise winner of the Grade 2 Santa Anita Oaks will be making her first start outside of Southern California. A daughter of Cupid, she stepped up last time after being clearly beaten in her first four tries in a graded stakes company.

Perhaps it is a sign that she is putting things together, but considering her numerous losses before, I am not ready to believe that she can ship east and pull another upset against this stacked field of 3-year-old fillies.

Turnerloose

Trained by Brad Cox, who has won two of the last four editions of the Kentucky Oaks, this filly is a stakes winner on both turf and dirt. Yet to run at Churchill Downs, the well-traveled daughter of Nyquist earned her biggest career victory two starts back in the Grade 2 Rachel Alexandra.

She beat some good fillies that afternoon, but none like the big four in here. In her most recent outing, she stalked the champ early, but could not stick with Echo Zulu down the lane in the Fair Grounds Oaks. I like others better.

Yuugiri

This daughter of Shackleford might have the speed to make life difficult for Echo Zulu early in the Kentucky Oaks. She’s pressed the pace in all five career starts, including a fast maiden win at Churchill Downs, and a game victory last time in the Grade 3 Fantasy.

As brave as that effort at Oaklawn Park was, it came against a different class of filly than what she will see on Friday. She looks like a pace factor only as she takes on the big girls going nine furlongs.

Cocktail Moments

My top longshot in the Ashland was able to pass horses and get up for second in the Grade 1 affair. The problem was that Nest was in another zip code at the finish. Now she tries that one again, as well as a number of other really good fillies.

While she is a threat to be passing horses again down the lane, my guess is that this time it’s more likely to get her somewhere around mid-pack at the finish, rather than filling out the exacta.

Candy Raid

This daughter of Candy Ride was able to rally right by and win Turfway Park’s Bourbonette Oaks last time out at odds of 52/1. Despite the nice victory, she will be long odds once again as she moves back into top company.

The last time she faced graded stakes company was two starts back when she finished well back in the Rachel Alexandra at Fair Grounds. Friday’s test is much tougher than that. I don’t think she can make it two straight big upsets.

How to Watch the Kentucky Oaks

Kentucky Oaks Race Information
What Kentucky Oaks (Grade 1)
Location Churchill Downs
Time Friday, May 6 — 5:51 pm Eastern time
How to Watch NBC Sports
Purse $1,250,000

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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]

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