2023 Ky Oaks: Pretty Mischievous Grabbed the Glory

There was a dramatic outcome to today’s G1 Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs, when the 10-1 shot Pretty Mischievous turned back the late thrust of Gambling Girl to win by a neck, giving trainer Brendan Walsh and jockey Tyler Gaffalione their first successes in the race.

Kentucky Oaks

Mischievous on her best behavior

G1, $1,250,000, 1m 1f dirt, 3yo fillies

Godolphin had the favorite for today’s Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs, but when plan A doesn’t work they always have a plan B, and so it came to pass that their homebred second-string Pretty Mischievous – trained by Brendan Walsh and ridden by Tyler Gaffalione – grabbed the glory in a close finish from the longshots Gambling Girl and The Alys Look.

It was the first success in this great race for trainer, jockey and owner, made all the more meritorious by the fact that Pretty Mischievous had been hung out to dry in the outside post of 14. The daughter of Into Mischief, a 10-1 chance, came in from the cold in style, with the decision to fit blinkers for the first time possibly a key factor in the outcome.

Flying Connection set brisk fractions, going through the half-mile in 46 and two-fifths, but Gaffalione always had Pretty Mischievous positioned perfectly just behind the speed, and she moved smoothly into contention around the turn before going to the lead at the three-sixteenths pole.

2023 Kentucky Oaks Race Video


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♬ original sound – horseracingtote – horseracingtote

She opened up a little daylight in mid-stretch, but had to work hard through the closing stages as Gambling Girl rallied like a locomotive, although Pretty Mischievous had enough in the tank and held on by a neck, with the late-closing The Alys Look two and a half lengths further back in third.

The 8-5 favourite Wet Paint’s habitual late rush failed to pay dividends this time and she just missed the board in fourth. The well-fancied Southlawn – who had beaten Pretty Mischievous in the G2 Fair Grounds Oaks in March – and Botanical finished well in arrears.

“I can’t put this into words,” said Gaffalione, who has the mount on the talented Verifying in tomorrow’s G1 Kentucky Derby. “This is amazing.”

This was the fifth victory from seven starts for Pretty Mischievous, who is now three-for-four at Churchill Downs. Her roll of honour also includes the G2 Rachel Alexandra at the Fair Grounds, and her share of the seven-figure purse made her a millionaire.

Kentucky Oaks Payouts

1. Pretty Mischievous22.7410.107.40
2. Gambling Girl 12.848.36
3. The Alys Look  13.80

Winning time: 1m 49.77s

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