This year's Kentucky Oaks could be a humdinger, and on March 12, Churchill Downs announced that the $500,000 race at 1 1/8 miles had lured 146 nominees.
Among them are Godolphin Stables' Tempera, champion 2-year-old filly of 2001; Edmund Gann's You, winner of the Santa Anita Oaks and Las Virgenes Stakes; The Thoroughbred Corp's Habibti, winner of the Hollywood Starlet and Del Mar Debutante; Robert Manfuso's unbeaten Belterra, winner of the Golden Rod Stakes at Churchill Downs; Michael Tabor's Bella Belluci, winner of the Astarita Stakes and third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies; and Select Stable's Take Charge Lady, winner of the Fair Grounds Oaks and Silverbulletday Stakes.
Todd Pletcher led all trainers with eight nominees, one more than Elliott Walden. Dubai-based Godolphin led all owners with five nominees, one more than WinStar Farm.
Michael Tabor and Mrs. John Magnier's Venus de Milo, a daughter of A.P. Indy trained by Ireland's Aidan O'Brien, also is nominated. O'Brien trains 2001 2-year-old champion Johannesburg, who races for the same owners and could travel to Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby.
The 2001 Kentucky Oaks, which attracted 167 nominees, was won by Juddmonte Farm's Flute.