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

If you're playing only to win, go with my top picks Travel Column (7/2) and Clairiere (6/1)

Kentucky Oaks – Post Position and Odds

Check out our predictions and odds for the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs!

PP Horse Odds Jockey Trainer
R Santana Jr S Asmussen
K Carmouche R Atras
J Talamo S Asmussen
J Ortiz K McPeek
J Castellano G Weaver
F Geroux B Cox
7 AVA’S GRACE 50/1
D Cohen R Diadoro
8 MORAZ 30/1
F Prat M McCarthy
9 COACH 30/1
L Saez B Cox
J Velazquez T Pletcher
J Court D Stewart
I Ortiz Jr C Brown
C Landeros J Gonzalez
T Gaffalione W Mott

Best Bets for the Kentucky Oaks

Here are my plays ($90 in total)

$5 Exacta part wheel – Travel Column and Clairiere over Travel Column, Clairiere, Search Results, Malathaat, Will’s Secret and Maracuja = $50

$1 Trifecta part wheel – Travel Column and Clairiere over Travel Column, Clairiere, Search Results, Malathaat, Will’s Secret and Maracuja and Travel Column, Clairiere, Search Results, Malathaat, Will’s Secret and Maracuja = $40

Top Picks:

Travel Column (7/2)

Clairiere (6/1)

Malathaat, unbeaten in four starts including three stakes, has been made the morning-line favorite out of 14 sophomore fillies set to clash in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks on Friday at Churchill Downs.

Malathaat has only run once so far in 2021, but she impressed with a late charge which carried her to victory in the Grade 1 Ashland at Keeneland. The daughter of Curlin is trained by Todd Pletcher, who is a three-time Kentucky Oaks winner, and will be ridden by Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez.

A close second choice on the morning line is Travel Column. The daughter of Frosted will be looking to give her trainer-jockey combination of Brad Cox and Florent Geroux a third Oaks victory and second in a row. The gray filly impressively won the Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks last out, and is already a stakes winner at Churchill Downs, having overcome trouble to score in last fall’s Grade 2 Golden Rod.

Trained by Chad Brown, Search Results is another who should get plenty of betting support. Unraced at 2, she is perfect in three starts this year, including an easy victory in the Grade 2 Gazelle at Aqueduct on April 3.

Several others in the contentious field merit serious consideration, including graded stakes winners, Clairiere and Crazy Beautiful.

How to Watch the Kentucky Oaks

Kentucky Oaks Information
What Kentucky Oaks (Grade 1)
Where Churchill Downs
When Friday, April 30 — 5:51 pm Eastern time
How to Watch NBC Sports Network
Purse $1,250,000

Race Analysis


Bred to be a good one, this daughter of Curlin is more than living up to her pedigree. Interestingly, her mother Dreaming of Julia was a troubled fourth in the Kentucky Oaks eight years ago as the favorite. Malathaat certainly looks to have the talent to avenge that loss. Unbeaten in four starts for trainer Todd Pletcher, she needed a furious finish to win both of her last two — one last year, and one this year. While those wins were impressive, the same recipe on Friday might not get the job done, as there are too many good horses to have to run down. She could very well wind up being the best horse in the field, but if she is left with too much to do in the stretch, I believe she becomes a very vulnerable favorite.

Travel Column

All things considered, I believe this filly is the one to beat. The Brad Cox-trainee already has two strong wins over the track and is definitely battle-tested, having knocked heads with the classy Clairiere in her last three starts. She also looks to have found an edition of the Kentucky Oaks without a lot of early speed, which should help her cause, as she has excellent tactical speed. Look for her to get first jump on the leaders on the far turn, and from there, the Frosted filly should have every chance to get to the wire on top. She is a must use on all tickets.

Search Results

One of many in with a shot, this undefeated daughter of Flatter has won all three of her starts this year. Two starts back, she was able to handle the talented Miss Brazil going a flat mile, and last time she dominated a largely paceless edition of the Grade 2 Gazelle. She should have to work harder all the way around in this one, but still, she may have the type of talent to win a race like this. On the negative, this will be a big jump in class for her. She is not my top pick, but the Chad Brown-trained filly is a legitimate threat.


One of two from the barn of Steve Asmussen, this well-bred daughter of Curlin has never finished worse than second in four-lifetime starts and both of her defeats came to the hands of Travel Column. The lone time she defeated that one came when she was able to make an early move and outbattle her to the wire. I can easily envision a similar scenario on Friday. Still improving, she did not have the best of trips when beaten in the Fair Grounds Oaks. She should love the extra distance of the Oaks, and she is proven over the Churchill Downs main track. Considering the odds, I believe she offers the best value in the entire field.

Crazy Beautiful

A stakes winner at both 2 and 3, this daughter of Liam’s Map exits her best race yet when she came from last to easily win the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Oaks. Has she gotten good enough to win the Kentucky Oaks, or did she beat up on a weak field? While she is rounding into peak form, I do believe that the level of competition will be much tougher in here. She is one of many with a chance to win, but I cannot completely forget about her graded stakes losses of last year.

Pass the Champagne

This daughter of Flatter has improved in each of her three-lifetime starts and ran a very good race when second behind Malathaat in the Ashland last time. In a race without much speed, she could be a threat to be involved early in the Oaks. I do feel like the Ashland was a perfect race set-up for her and she still didn’t win. Still, improvement in her second start around two turns can be expected. She is a legitimate threat, but I like several others just a little better.

Pauline’s Pearl

This well-bred daughter of Tapit has been making steady improvement for trainer Steve Asmussen all season. If she can make one more move forward, she merits serious consideration in the Kentucky Oaks. Having said that, I believe her only stakes win, the Grade 3 Fantasy came up a little light this year. I’m also not crazy about her rail draw in this big field. She could prove me wrong, but I am going to take a stand against her, as she moves up in class on Friday.

Will’s Secret

A two-time stakes winner at Oaklawn Park earlier this year, she could not quite keep up with the late charge of Malathaat in the Ashland last time. Still, this daughter of Will Take Charge interests me as a big longshot. I believe the longer stretch at Churchill Downs and the extra sixteenth of a mile in the Oaks will play in her favor. I would also like to see her a little closer than where she was early at Keeneland. It’s a tough spot, obviously, but I could see her running a very solid race on Friday.


One of three daughters of Curlin in the race, this is the one I like the least. She did run a bang-up second to Malathaat late last year, and an improved second start of 2021 last time when second in the Gulfstream Park Oaks, but overall I believe her overall form is just a cut below several of the main players in here. I do see continued improvement for her, but she’s not for me in the Kentucky Oaks.


After taking three races to break her maiden while sprinting in New York, this daughter of Honor Code looked good when stretching out for the first time in the Gazelle. Still, she was no match for the winner Search Results. Perhaps with a little more early pace, her second try around two turns could be even better. This is a very tough spot in which to breakthrough, but I could see her finishing with a strong rally at big odds in the Kentucky Oaks.


Trained by Michael McCarthy, this well-bred daughter of Empire Maker has done all her racing in Southern California. An 11-length winner of her maiden three starts back, she has been competitive in all three tries against graded stakes competition since. Unfortunately, she was unable to find the winner’s circle in any. She is a longshot with a chance on Friday, but I like too many others better.


This daughter of Commissioner has failed to find the winner’s circle in four straight outings, including finishing third last time behind Pauline’s Pearl and Ava’s Grace in the Fantasy. On the bright side, her one-stakes win came over the Churchill Downs oval last fall for trainer Brad Cox, but I still cannot back this one against this deep and talented field.

Ava’s Grace

This daughter of Laoban turned in a solid effort last time to finish second in the Fantasy at odds of 8-1. She showed plenty of speed that afternoon at Oaklawn Park and should be part of the pace on Friday. As mentioned, though, I did not think that was a very strong edition of the Fantasy. Her task in the Kentucky Oaks looks to be much more difficult. Overall, I find her hard to recommend.

Competitive Speed

Drawn on the outside, this filly from the barn of Javier Gonzalez looks to be a deserving longshot in here. A stakes winner sprinting, she has had three chances against graded stakes competition in Florida and was not too close to winning in any of the three. Things will only get tougher against this bunch. I will take a pass.

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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]