2023 Gulfstream Park Oaks Odds & Fantasy Stakes Picks

The long march towards Churchill Downs in May continues for the fillies on Saturday, with two 100pt-to-the-winner preps set to lend further clarity to the Kentucky Oaks picture. Todd Pletcher’s pair Miracle and Atomically take on shock G2 winner Dorth Vader in an open G2 2023 Gulfstream Park Oaks, while at Oaklawn Park the G3 Fantasy could be at the mercy of current Oaks favorite Wet Paint, who bids for a third successive victory over course and distance.


Gulfstream Park Oaks

G2, $250,000, 1m 1/16 dirt, 3yo fillies, 5.15pm ET

The Gulfstream Park Oaks doesn’t have anything like the heft of its counterpart the Florida Derby, and Saturday’s race – with its payload of Road to the Kentucky Oaks qualifying points on a 100-40-30-20-10 scale – is lightweight in comparison, although it still provides an intriguing contest between some closely-matched fillies.

The form of morning-line favorite Miracle (5-2) looked pretty solid up until last weekend, as she had produced a career-best on her Graded-stakes debut in the G2 Rachel Alexandra at the Fair Grounds over a mile-sixteenth, splitting Pretty Mischievous and Hoosier Philly after cutting out the pace and then fighting hard when it was taken off her.

However, that form took a nosedive in last weekend’s G2 Fair Grounds Oaks when Pretty Mischievous and Hoosier Philly were comfortably beaten, and now the eye is drawn to Miracle’s previous performances, which seem to suggest she can’t get the job done in state-bred stakes. She’s at short enough odds today.

Her barnmate Atomically (7-2) – trainer Todd Pletcher has won this race four times – is stretching out again after a fair effort in the seven-furlong G3 Forward Gal here in February, when she coped with brisk fractions and kept coming for third, indicating that she’s happy going longer. Flakes (15-1)was a no-show sixth, beaten 11 and a half lengths, and did her bit for the strength of the race when winning an allowance here over seven furlongs on her next start.

Atomically has already won twice at this circuit, including a romping score in a state-bred stakes over today’s distance, with Dorth Vader (4-1) beaten 11 lengths into third, and her affinity for this track is naturally a positive.

That stakes form was given a big boost when Dorth Vader upset the G2 Davona Dale here as the 46-1 outsider of the field, finishing off her race strongly on her first try at a mile to win by four and three-quarter lengths, looking as though she could maybe stretch out further. The inconsistent Infinite Diamond (6-1), previously a stakes winner here over a mile, was never a serious threat in fourth, beaten seven and a quarter lengths.

Can Dorth Vader do it again or was it simply lightning striking once? She was probably assisted by a minor pace meltdown but she’s clearly on the upgrade.

Oaklawn Park maiden winner Sacred Wish (9-2) is taking a big class hike and stretching out beyond six furlongs, so she doesn’t leap off the page, while Affirmative Lady (10-1) had fair form at stakes level before breaking her maiden at the fifth attempt over course and distance, and could be in the mix if the win gives her a boost. Fellow Gulfstream maiden winner Just Katherine (15-1) did it easily over seven furlongs but the second and third were debutantes and the race probably didn’t take much winning.

2023 Gulfstream Park Oaks Odds & Betting Pick 

HorseJockeyOdds by Jazzsports
FlakesEdgard J. Zayas+1500
Infinite DiamondJoel Rosario+600
Just KatherineLeonel Reyes+1500
Affirmative LadyLuis Saez+1000
MiracleIrad Ortiz, Jr.+250
AtomicallyJose L. Ortiz+350
Sacred WishJavier Castellano+450
Dorth VaderMiguel Angel Vasquez+400

Course-and-distance winner ATOMICALLY, who shaped well here on her comeback over shorter, can improve on that now she stretches back out again.

Fantasy Stakes

G3, $600,000, 1m 1/16 dirt, 3yo fillies, Oaklawn Park, 5.35pm CT

There is a less open look to the valuable Fantasy at Oaklawn Park – which also offers 100 RTKO points to the winner – owing to the presence of the current Kentucky Oaks favourite, who has risen swiftly through the ranks this year with two wins from two starts over this course and distance.

The horse in question is Wet Paint (8-5), who has already accounted for most of today’s rivals in the course of those victories. She won with a ton in hand on her stakes debut, value for much more than the official margin of two lengths over the longshot Taxed (30-1), with Take Charge Briana (20-1) fourth, beaten six and a half lengths, and disappointing second-choice Olivia Twist (20-1) another four and three-quarter lengths back in fifth.

Next time, in the G3 Honeybee, Wet Paint was similarly dominant when shaking off her foes in the stretch to win going away, again probably value for more than the three lengths she put into the game front-running longshot Condensation (10-1), who in turn had three-quarters of a length in hand over the no-kick third Grand Love (8-1). Towhead (10-1)looked one-paced in fifth, beaten another length, while Take Charge Briana, Olivia Twist and Taxed were longshots and ran like it in seventh, eighth and ninth.

The only possible quibble about the late-running Wet Paint is that both those impressive successes were gained on a wet, sealed track, as was her maiden win at Horseshoe Indianapolis. She has never run on a fast main track and that raises a doubt, although not a big one. She certainly likes it at Oaklawn.

Of those behind her and reopposing, the one to watch is probably Grand Love, who will move up for that Honeybee comeback and was not disgraced when sixth in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Keeneland in November. She could be part of the pace.

Stakes debutante She’s Lookin Lucky (5-2) absolutely tore the field to shreds when winning a Fair Grounds mile maiden by more than 13 lengths, but didn’t move too far forward from that when runner-up in an allowance over course and distance, beaten four and a quarter lengths. She has plenty to prove, especially at those morning-line odds.

Royal Spa (4-1) showed plenty of speed when winning an allowance here over six furlongs on her first run of 2023, but didn’t look like she wanted to go longer when a tired fourth in the G2 Demoiselle over a mile-eighth in December, although as she matures she might be happy to stretch out. Pate (20-1)was runner-up in a six-furlong stakes here and has been found a tough spot to stretch out beyond that distance for the first time.

Fantasy Stakes Odds & Betting Prediction

HorseJockeyOdds by Jazzsports
She’s Lookin LuckyCristian A. Torres+250
Grand LoveTyler Gaffalione+800
TowheadIsaac Castillo+1000
TaxedRafael Bejarano+3000
Take Charge BrianaReylu Gutierrez+2000
Wet PaintFlavien Prat+160
PateFlorent Geroux+2000
Royal SpaRicardo Santana, Jr.+400
Olivia TwistDavid Cabrera+2000
CondensationFrancisco Arrieta+1000

It’s impossible to look away from the progressive WET PAINT, so impressive in two stakes wins at this track and holding a clear class edge over her rivals.

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