A full field of 14, led by California grade I winner Rags to Riches, is set to go postward in Friday's Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) at Churchill Downs.
While Rags to Riches is expected to be the overwhelming post-time favorite and is listed at 5-2 on the morning line, she could face a serious challenge from 2006 champion 2-year-old filly Dreaming of Anna, who will be the first juvenile filly champion since Silverbulletday in 1999 to make it into the Oaks starting gate.
The Oaks will be the first start for Rags to Riches since the March 11 Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I) where she registered a strong 5 1/2-length win. Before that, she won the Feb. 10 Las Virgenes (gr. I) by three quarters of a length one race after breaking her maiden by an impressive six lengths.
Trained by Todd Pletcher, Rags to Riches has been working steadily alongside stablemate and Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) runner Circular Quay. The daughter of A.P. Indy worked five furlongs in 1:00.20 April 22 and followed that with another five furlong work in the exact same time seven days later.
If Rags to Riches gets the lilies, she would become the second Oaks winner for Pletcher, who saddled Ashado to win the 2004 edition for Jack Wolf's Starlight Stables and partners. Wolf also owns Oaks starter Octave in partnership with Donald Lucarelli.
Rags to Riches will break from post 11 with jockey Garrett Gomez aboard.
Bred in Kentucky by Skara Glen Stables, Rags to Riches was produced from the Deputy Minister mare Better Than Honour, and is a half-sister to Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Jazil.
Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith own Rags to Riches in partnership.
Rags to Riches will not be the only filly in the Oaks to represent the Pletcher stable. The trainer will also saddle Octave and Cotton Blossom.
Dreaming of Anna drew post seven and will once again have Rene Douglas aboard. The pair is the second choice on the morning line at 5-1.
A daughter of Rahy, Dreaming of Anna worked five furlongs in :58.60 April 28 at Churchill Downs after getting seven furlongs in 1:25.20 April 21 over the Polytrack at Keeneland.
Earlier in the year the connections of Dreaming of Anna had ruled out the Oaks, but trainer Wayne Catalano changed his mind in the days leading up to the race. "She was training the same way she was coming into the Breeders' Cup last year, so we thought we would give it a shot."
Owned by Frank Calabrese, Dreaming of Anna finished third in the Old Hat Stakes (gr. III) and was second in the Gaily Gaily Stakes on the turf.$500,000 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I, Race 10, 5:45 p.m.), 3-Year-Old Fillies, 1 1/8 Miles
PP. Horse, Jockey, ML Odds
1. Dawn After Dawn (FL), Robby Albarado, 30/1
2. Cash Included (KY), Corey S. Nakatani, 12/1
3. High Heels (KY), Joe M. Johnson, 6/1
4. Octave (KY), John R. Velazquez, 6/1
5. Cotton Blossom (KY, Edgar S. Prado, 8/1
6. Grace Happens (KY), Willie Martinez, 50/1
7. Dreaming of Anna (KY), Rene R. Douglas, 5/1
8. Swift Temper (KY), Julien R. Leparoux, 50/1
9. Tough Tiz's Sis (KY), Victor Espinoza, 10/1
10. Autobahn Girl (KY), Eddie Castro, 15/1
11. Rags to Riches (KY), Garrett K. Gomez, 5/2
12. Sealy Hill (ON), Patrick Husbands, 20/1
13. Mistical Plan (CA), David R. Flores, 12/1
14. High Again (KY), Cornelio H. Velasquez, 12/1
Each assigned 121 pounds.