The Kentucky Oaks Day at Churchill Downs

On a Friday afternoon dominated by the fairer sex, two classy turf contests complete the action on Kentucky Oaks Day at Churchill Downs. The rivalry between Papilio and Cairo Consort continues in the G2 Edgewood, with the score standing at 2-0 to the former, while Chad Brown is the man to beat in the G3 Modesty with barnmates Shantisara and McKulick at the top of the tote board.

2023 Kentucky Oaks Day Preview

Edgewood Stakes

G2, $500,000, 1m 1/16 turf, 3yo fillies, 4.51pm ET

A new rivalry is being forged in the sophomore distaff turf division and it continues in the Edgewood, the main event on the lawn on Friday’s Kentucky Oaks undercard at Churchill Downs.

It’s third time around for Papilio (7-2) and Cairo Consort (3-1), who first locked horns in the G3 Herecomesthebride at Gulfstream Park in March when the ex-Irish Papilio – making her first start Stateside – came out on top by a nose when the pair ran two-three over the mile.

The rematch came in the G2 Appalachian over the Keeneland mile last month and it was the same story, albeit an exacta, Papilio extending her margin of superiority over Cairo Consort to a neck when rallying hard through the stretch, with pace-setting Heavenly Sunday (8-1) fading in the closing stages to be third, beaten a further length, and boxcar longshot Sabalenka (20-1) a no-show sixth.

A nose, a neck – there’s obviously hardly anything between Papilio and Cairo Consort, who was an excellent third in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Keeneland in November when made more use of, finishing roughly a length ahead of California shipper Comanche Country (10-1) in seventh.

It would be a brave bettor who was dogmatic about the outcome this time – racing luck will be a factor – but Papilio and Cairo Consort set the standard. 

The main opposition to the pair comes from the Chad Brown barn, which is always a powerhouse on the distaff turf scene, and there are three to choose from here. The ex-French Revalita (5-1) showed up well on her US debut when a late-running fourth behind Papilio and Cairo Consort in the aforementioned Herecomesthebride, beaten just a half-length by that pair. She’s almost certain to move up with that experience under her belt, her first run on fast turf.

Her barnmate Liguria (6-1) was a convincing winner of the G3 Jimmy Durante over a mile at Del Mar in December and the five-month layoff is rarely an issue with Brown’s horses, who are almost always ready to roll. Then there’s Preliminary (5-1), who got it right the first time when rallying strongly to lead in the closing stages over a mile at Gulfstream. She will obviously improve for that introduction, although she’ll need to.

Mission Of Joy (5-1) got home late to win the mile-sixteenth G3 Florida Oaks at Tampa Bay Downs by a neck on her stakes debut and should be a threat on her first start away from that circuit, while Heavenly Sunday’s barnmate Flashy Gem (10-1) is back on the weeds after chasing home major Kentucky Oaks contender Botanical in mile-sixteenth stakes on the synthetic surface at Turfway Park, seven lengths clear of the third horse.

2023 Edgewood Stakes Odds & Prediction

HorseJockeyOdds by Jazzsports
Girl Named CharlieEdgar Morales+1500
LiguriaFlavien Prat+600
Cairo ConsortTyler Gaffalione+300
SabalenkaRicardo Santana, Jr.+2000
Preliminary (GB)Irad Ortiz, Jr.+500
Mission of JoyJoel Rosario+500
Comanche Country (IRE)Umberto Rispoli+1000
Heavenly SundayFlorent Geroux+800
Papilio (IRE)Javier Castellano+350
Flashy GemLuis Saez+1000
Revalita (FR)Jose L. Ortiz+500

Horse Betting Prediction  Such a tricky puzzle, but REVALITA ran a very promising race on her debut Stateside, showing improvement for the fast conditions, and can take another step forward.

Kentucky Oaks Odds

Modesty Stakes

G3, $300,000, 1m 1f turf, 4yo+ females, 1.26pm ET

Not for the first time and not for the last time, the Chad Brown factor is the key to a turf race for older distaffers, with the Modesty just the latest example of the overwhelming strength available in his barn.

He has the two market leaders on his side here, with morning-line favorite Shantisara (2-1) getting a little class relief after an authoritative success in the G2 Hillsborough over a mile-eighth at Tampa Bay Downs, in which she stalked, pounced, and held on well to sign for her first win in 17 months.

Shantisara had given notice that the revival was on when a game runner-up in the G3 Pegasus World Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Gulfstream, two and three-quarter lengths ahead of Lady Rockstar (10-1) in third, and given her earlier victory in the 2021 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland, she’s a G1 horse in a G3 contest.

So is her barnmate McKulick (5-2), winner of the G1 Belmont Oaks last summer, who returns from a seven-month spell on the sidelines. She took her turn in the QEII Challenge Cup last year, coming home second-best behind (yet another) barnmate, and is a very consistent operator whose layoff won’t be detrimental to her chance. There may be very little between this pair.

It isn’t always the case that South American stars continue to excel when moving north, but Didia (5-1) has thrived and is riding a six-race winning streak divided into three in Venezuela and three in the US, all at a mile-sixteenth. 

Last time out she swooped late in her usual fashion to take a stakes at the Fair Grounds, finishing two and a half lengths ahead of third-placed New Year’s Eve (5-1), who left things too late and has struggled since winning the G2 Edgewood – beating McKulick – at this meeting 12 months ago. This is Didia’s toughest test yet, but there may well be more to come and if there is she’ll be a major player.

The quality drops off a little to the remainder of the field, although Sparkle Blue (12-1) acquitted herself well in the G1 American Oaks at Santa Anita on her latest start, seeing out the ten furlongs for third, a length behind the winner. She’s lightly raced and could improve.

Two wins in state-bred stakes in Florida suggest that Sweet Dani Girl (12-1) will find this class hike tough, especially as she sank without trace in the G3 Honey Fox in between. Henrietta Topham (15-1) has done her winning at second-tier Ellis Park and Horseshoe Indianapolis and could be out of her depth in the big league.

2023 Modesty Stakes Odds & Prediction

HorseJockeyOdds by Jazzsports
Sweet Dani GirlJavier Castellano+1200
Didia (ARG)Vincent Cheminaud+500
Henrietta TophamJames Graham+1500
Sparkle BlueJoel Rosario+1200
Lady Rockstar (GB)Tyler Gaffalione+1000
McKulick (GB)Irad Ortiz, Jr.+250
Shantisara (IRE)Flavien Prat+200
New Year’s EveLuis Saez+500
Kate’s KingdomJack Gilligan+3000

Horse Betting Prediction  Chad Brown has the aces and G1 winner SHANTISARA, back in the winner’s circle last time after a long spell away, can build on that success with class relief on her side.

Come Back for the latest 2023 Kentucky Derby Odds. Check out the World’s major Racetracks entries and don’t forget to Sign-up and get a 10% horse rebate. We have the biggest rebate!

Daily Horse Betting Rebate

Boost your winning chances, with our Horse Betting Guide. We have a guide for all levels!

Follow us on Social Media for instant 2023 Kentucky Oaks Day updates!