Untapable will have her work cut out for her when she breaks from post 13 in the Longines Kentucky Oaks (gr. I). The daughter of Tapit , who was installed as the 4-5 morning line favorite in the May 2 race, will face 12 others in the 1 1/8-mile contest at Churchill Downs.
If Untapable were to bring home the lilies from her far outside post, she would be just the second horse to do so since Churchill's use of a starting gate in 1930. The last filly to accomplish the feat was Lemons Forever, who won the Oaks from post 14 in 2006.
"She's obviously a filly with a tremendous amount of talent," trainer Steve Asmussen told The Blood-Horse after Untapable worked four furlongs in :48 3/5 at Churchill April 27. "We're just trying to keep her on the ground, keep her running."
Asmussen and jockey Rosie Napravnik, who will ride Untapable, each have previous Oaks triumphs. Asmussen saddled 2005 winner Summerly and Napravnik was aboard Believe You Can, winner of the 2012 renewal. Napravnik has guided Untapable to all four of her victories from six starts.
Untapable enters the Oaks off back-to-back wins at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots in the Rachel Alexandra Stakes (gr. III) and the Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II).
"She trained so well at the Fair Grounds and her races were just tremendous," Asmussen said. "With her, I think just trying to keep her on the ground and hold what we've got. I wouldn't have minded (the Oaks) being last week."
A Kentucky homebred for Winchell Thoroughbreds, Untapable is out of the Prized mare Fun House.
Another filly that captured the Oaks from an outside post is Plum Pretty, who broke from the 12 hole out of 13 horses in 2011, and then stalked the pace to prevail by a neck. St. John's River, who left from post 13, finished second in that year's running.
Rags to Riches also put on an impressive outside post performance in the 2007 Oaks. After breaking from post 11 out of 14 horses, the filly went four wide and then rallied to score by 4 1/4 lengths.
Second choice on the morning line at 6-1 is Arnold Zetcher and Michael Tabor's Fashion Plate, trained by Simon Callaghan.
Fashion Plate has won her past three starts with the most recent two coming in the Las Virgenes (gr. I) and Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I) with Gary Stevens aboard. Stevens, who won the Oaks in 1986 on Tiffany Lass and in 1999 on Silverbulletday, will exit post position 7 on Fashion Plate.
Trainer Dallas Stewart, who won the Oaks in 2006 with the aforementioned Lemon Drop Kid mare Lemons Forever, will send out her daughter Unbridled Forever in this year's running. By Unbridled's Song, Unbridled Forever will break from the 9 post under Robby Albarado.
"I think it's a good draw," Stewart said. "She's handy and can show a little speed. If she can lie back, we'll see what dictates and hopefully we'll have a good trip."
Unbridled Forever will enter the Oaks off a third behind Untapable in the Fair Grounds Oaks, before which she captured the Silverbulletday Stakes at Fair Grounds. She has earned $140,830 from four starts.
"A win (in the Oaks) would be pretty special considering her mother won it," said Stewart. "(Unbridled Forever) is a pretty remarkable filly too."
Landaluce Educe Stables' Rosalind, who dead heated with Room Service for a victory in the April 5 Central Bank Ashland Stakes (gr. I), drew the 4 post and was installed at 8-1 odds. She will be ridden by Joel Rosario.
Owner Ray Struder of Landaluce Educe said he was pleased with Rosalind's post position draw due to the fact she would be one of the first to load in the gate.
"She's often cranky when headed toward the gate, so (the 4 post) will give her time to settle before she runs," Struder said of the daughter of Broken Vow , who is trained by Kenny McPeek.
"Post positions 2, 3, and 4 were the best for us because she'll get away easy and she won't have to fight traffic," Studer continued. "One of her best races was in the Breeders' Cup (2013 Juvenile Fillies, gr. I, finished second), when she started from post 2."
The field, with jockeys and morning line odds, for the $1 million race that will offer $570,400 to the winner is:
1—Please Explain, Jose Lezcano, 50-1
2—Ria Antonia, Mike Smith, 10-1
3—Sugar Shock, Calvin Borel, 12-1
4—Rosalind, Joel Rosario, 8-1
5—Thank You Marylou, Julien Leparoux, 30-1
6—Kiss Moon, Victor Espinoza, 30-1
7—Fashion Plate, Gary Stevens, 6-1
8—Aurelia's Belle, Channing Hill, 50-1
9—Unbridled Forever, Robby Albarado, 12-1
10—Empress of Midway, Corey Nakatani, 50-1
11—My Miss Sophia, Javier Castellano, 8-1
12—Got Lucky, John Velazquez, 20-1
13—Untapable, Rosie Napravnik, 4-5
Listen to trainer Dallas Stewart discuss Unbridled Forever's post position draw: