The early nomination deadline is fast approaching for owners and trainers who are pointing runners to the 139th running of the $1 million Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) for 3-year-old fillies May 3 at Churchill Downs.
Early nominations to the Kentucky Oaks, the 1 1/8-mile companion race to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), are due by 11:59 p.m. (all times Eastern) Saturday, Feb. 23. Each early nomination must be accompanied by payment of a $200 fee.
Nominations also close Feb. 23 for the 28th running of the $500,000-added Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (gr. IT), an important grass race for older horses scheduled for Kentucky Derby Day May 4. The 1 1/8-mile race for 4-year-olds and up on Churchill Downs' Matt Winn Turf Course is run immediately prior to the main event on the Derby Day racing and wagering menu.
The Kentucky Oaks is run each year on the eve of the Kentucky Derby and, like its companion event, has been contested each year without interruption since its first running in 1875. The race is limited to 14 3-year-old fillies, with up to four fillies designated as "also eligible" to start. Eligibility for the race will be determined for the first time by the "Road to the Kentucky Oaks" point system.
The 139th Kentucky Oaks will be televised live from 5-6 p.m. on the NBC Sports Network.
Horsemen can nominate horses by contacting Kelly Danner with Churchill Downs Racing via telephone at (502) 638-3825 or online at Kelly.Danner@KyDerby.com. Nominations can also be made via fax at (502) 636-4598. Nomination forms for the Kentucky Oaks and Woodford Reserve Turf Classic are available online at www.churchilldowns.com.
Ben Huffman, director of racing at Churchill Downs, will be in south Florida through Saturday to solicit nominations. Other agents dispatched to accept nominations are Sandy Montgomery (Oaklawn Park) and Gene Williams (Southern California). Meanwhile, Scott Jones and Tia Murphy will accept nominations at Fair Grounds and Turfway Park, respectively.
A late nomination period for Kentucky Oaks 139 will open Feb. 24 and continue through April 10. Nomination of any 3-year-old filly to the race during that period will require payment of a fee of $1,500. There will be one final opportunity to make a filly eligible for the Kentucky Oaks through a supplemental nomination process that requires payment of a $30,000 fee at the time of entry to the 2013 Kentucky Oaks April 30.
The 2012 running of the Oaks attracted 94 original nominations and a trio for late nominees for a final total of 97.
Late nominations also are accepted for the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic. Those nominations require payment of a $1,000 fee by the late nomination deadline of 11:59 p.m. on April 10. Supplemental nominations to the race may be made at the time of entry on May 1 and require payment of a $15,000 fee. The Woodford Reserve Turf Classic is limited to 14 starters.
Last year's race, won by Little Mike, attracted 61 early nominations and four late nominees.