(Edited press release)
Champion Stardom Bound, winner of five consecutive grade I stakes races, and rising star Rachel Alexandra, the heavy favorite for the March 14 $300,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II) at Fair Grounds, are the narrowly separated top betting choices heading to this week’s only pool of Churchill Downs’ Kentucky Oaks Future Wager.
The four-day pool, which opens at noon (all times EDT) March 12, offers racing fans the opportunity to wager on candidates for the 135th running of the $500,000-added Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) at odds that could be significantly greater than those available on the day of the race May 1.
Reduced to a single pool after it was conducted for five years in a three-pool format, this year’s lone Kentucky Oaks Future pool is scheduled to close at 6:30 p.m. March 15 – 30 minutes later than the close of its companion Kentucky Derby Future Wager, which also opens a four-day run March 12 at noon.
Stardom Bound, the champion 2-year-old filly of 2008 and winner of the Bessemer Trust Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I), extended her grade I winning streak to five races with her narrow victory in the March 7 Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I).
Churchill Downs odds maker Mike Battaglia has installed the daughter of Tapit as a tepid 5-1 favorite among the 24 wagering interests in the Oaks Future bet. Close behind is Rachel Alexandra, an impressive winner in last fall’s Golden Rod stakes (gr. II) at Churchill Downs and the odds-on favorite for the Fair Grounds Oaks. Rachel Alexandra is the 6-1 second choice.
The mutuel field, which includes all 3-year-old fillies not listed as individual betting interests, is Battaglia’s 10-1 co-third choice. Elusive Heat, a 13 1/2-length allowance winner in her most recent start at Gulfstream Park for her second win in three races, is also listed at odds of 10-1. She is a daughter of Elusive Quality out of the brilliant sprinter Xtra Heat.
The Oaks Future Wager is a $2 minimum bet and a “win” wager only. If Churchill Downs should determine during the four-day KOFW pool that any of its individual wagering interests will not be able to compete in the Kentucky Oaks because of illness, injury or other cause, wagering on that filly will be suspended immediately.
There are no scratches or refunds in the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager.
After the top three choices, Battaglia’s morning line odds for the Oaks Future Wager reflect a closely-matched group of contenders. Streaking Justwhistledixie, who made Gulftream Park’s Davona Dale (gr. II) her fourth consecutive victory, is next in the morning line at 12-1. Dream Empress, winner of the Darley Alcibiades (gr. I) at Keeneland and runner-up to Stardom Bound in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, is a 15-1 risk, as is unbeaten What A Pear, a 10 1/4-length winner in Aqueduct’s Busher Stakes.
Betting interests in the Kentucky Derby Future Wager pools are selected by a panel that includes Mike Watchmaker, Daily Racing Form national handicapper; Brad Free, West Coast correspondent for the Daily Racing Form; and John Asher, vice president of racing communications at Churchill Downs.
Real-time odds on the 2009 Kentucky Oaks Future Wager are available on the official Kentucky Oaks Web site at www.kentuckyoaks.com.
|KY OAKS FUTURE WAGER FIELD|
|Number||Wagering Interest||ML odds|
|2||Bon Jovi Girl||20-1|
|7||Fitz Just Right||20-1|
|23||What A Pear||15-1|
|24||Mutuel Field (“All Others”)||10-1|