Lilies for the Fillies Day

The first Friday in May is all about the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs, the ‘lilies for the fillies’ and a compelling lead-in to tomorrow’s Kentucky Derby. As the clock ticks down towards today’s big race, we round up the latest news from the track and provide bettors with a few angles to consider in the eternal search for a payout.


Kentucky Oaks

G1, $1,250,000, 1m 1f dirt, 3yo fillies, 5.51pm ET

There were no late scratches before the 9am deadline for today’s Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs, so the 14 runners are as expected, with Wet Paint retaining her position as the long-time favourite for the big race and also-eligibles Taxed, Julia Shining and Hoosier Philly all missing out.

Yesterday was a very dramatic day at the Louisville circuit, with Oaks longshot And Tell Me Nolies adding to the sense of chaos when unseating her rider as she was leaving the track after exercise.

The sensible filly cantered straight back to her barn and neither horse nor rider were injured, but the incident – coupled with a similar scenario involving Derby hopeful Verifying, who ran loose on the track before being caught – set nerves jangling even more than normal.

The incident didn’t affect the betting for the Oaks, with And Tell Me Nolies pegged at +2500 on the Jazz Sports future book, with Wet Paint the +160 top choice ahead of Southlawn (+475) and Botanical (+525).

There is a choice when it comes to wagering. As an example, Affirmative Lady is +1200 with Jazz, whereas she is 10-1 on the official morning-line set by the racetrack odds-compiler. It’s important to remember that the morning-line is just a guide, a very educated guess, and bets can’t be placed at those odds.

One option for bettors is to wager at fixed-odds, where $10 on Affirmative Lady at +1200 is $10 at +1200 whatever the fluctuations in odds before post-time. The other option is to bet into the tote pool on raceday, when the odds change all the time until the gates open depending on the amount wagered on each horse.

Affirmative Lady could pay off at 7.50 or 15.00 for tote bettors – there’s no way of knowing – but the fixed-odds bettor is sure of getting +1200. It’s a personal choice.

Exotic bets are always popular, as the payoff can be huge – although the likelihood of getting that payoff can be small. Put two horses in an exacta, and if they run first and second you collect. Put three in a trifecta, and if they finish in the right order then it can be a big win, especially if there’s a longshot on the board.

In last year’s Oaks, with the first three home at odds of 4-1, 2-1 and 50-1, the trifecta paid $308 to a 50-cent stake – the superfecta, the first four in the correct order, paid $3,238 for a dollar. It’s a lot of fun for a small outlay.

2023 Kentucky Derby Oaks Betting Pick

AFFIRMATIVE LADY is ready to peak. Mix and match Wet Paint, Gambling Girl and Wonder Wheel underneath in exactas and trifectas.

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