Friday’s G1 Kentucky Oaks (1800m) at Churchill Downs comprises a deep field of fillies headed by 4-1 co-favourites Stellar Wind (Curlin) and I’m a Chatterbox (Munnings).
“You could make a case for every filly in the race,” trainer Larry Jones admitted. “They all have something on their resume that shows they’re capable of winning.”
Jones preps G2 Fair Grounds Oaks winner I’m a Chatterbox and G1 Ashland Stakes winner Lovely Maria (Majesticperfection) who is priced at 5-1.
Big Brown filly Puca is also in the market at 15-1 despite drawing the outside barrier in a capacity horse field. “She’s been up on the bridle and willing to work,” trainer Bill Mott said. “Nothing fancy. She’s moving well and comes back good.”
Puca (3f Big Brown – Boat’s Ghost by Silver Ghost) won her maiden by 16 lengths at Belmont Park in October and is coming off a Group 2 placing in the Gazelle Stakes (1800m) at Aqueduct when the leader wasn’t challenged.
“Her speed figures maybe haven’t been as good as some of the others but visually she’s been pretty good,” Mott added. “If she gets an honest pace that will help.”
Bred in Kentucky by Jerry Crawford and Paul Pompa Jr, she was purchased by Donegal Racing president Jerry Crawford for $90,000 at the 2013 Keeneland September yearling sale. Her most recent work was over 1000m in company with Japan (Medaglia d’Oro) and they logged 61.20s. It was the fifth fastest of 55 at the distance.
“This filly sits mid-pack or a little bit off it,” stable foreman Kenny McCarthy said. “I think you just have to let your horse dictate where they’re most comfortable.”
“I’ve been pretty impressed with her work in the last week. She really set them down and handled the track. She’s fine and did it awfully easy.”