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Kentucky Oaks Post Positions, Morning Line Odds, and More

A look at Kentucky Oaks post positions, morning line odds, and more. On Monday, May 2, Churchill Downs drew post positions for Friday's Grade I Kentucky Oaks. Matthew DeSantis breaks down the post draw and the morning line odds.
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Kentucky Oaks Post Positions, Morning Line Odds, and More

Drawing post positions and releasing morning line odds are the pomp and circumstance of the first leg of the Triple Crown, but there are real implications to the post draw as lining 20 horses up in a starting gate comes with tactical advantages and disadvantages for the Kentucky Oaks. Additionally, examination of the morning line odds is a necessary process given the amount of money getting bet on the Fastest Two Minutes in Sports. Let's take a look at the post positions and morning line odds for Friday's Kentucky Oaks.

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Kentucky Oaks Post Draw

The three favorites, Nest, Kathleen O., and Echo Zulu, all got solid post draws that play to their strengths. Nest should be able to use her early tactical speed to secure a rail trip behind the leaders while Echo Zulu should appreciate breaking right next to pacesetter Yuugiri and sitting just off her hip. Meanwhile, I believe Kathleen O., who tends to have issues getting out of the gate, will benefit from an outside post position as she is less likely to get into trouble and should be able to slot in where she's most comfortable.

Aside from the favorites having advantageous positions, in my eyes, there were two other big takeaways. First, is the far inside post position for Secret Oath, who is the filly that finished 3rd running against the boys at the Grade II Arkansas Derby. She is a closer and has a similar dynamic running style to Kathleen O. While the far inside post position is not incredibly detrimental, when you review her previous races, she's often not that far off the pace even if she's sitting last or second-to-last. In a 14-horse field, however, if she breaks toward the back, she will likely be 8-10 lengths off the paces, which is what happened at the Arkansas Derby, which saw her flatten out in the stretch.

The other big takeaway and potential winner from the post draw is Turnerloose who is breaking from the far outside. Typically, that's not ideal, but in this case, there is no early speed breaking to her immediate inside, which means she should be able to easily clear those fillies breaking next to her and nestle in behind the leaders for a nice trip. She may still prove to be a cut below the elite fillies in this crop, but she should be well-positioned coming for home.

Kentucky Oaks Morning Line Odds

As you could see from the graphic above Nest (5-2) was installed as the morning line favorite, but I just don't see it. Nest is a nice filly who has won at the 9-furlong distance back in December but also had not turned in a strong speed figure performance until her last outing at the Grade I Ashland. Even then, depending on which metrics you use, she still is slightly behind some of the elite speed in the field. Kathleen O. (7-2) is likely to take a good amount of action and I believe will end up being the favorite by post time. That said, there is a lot of scuttlebutt at Churchill Downs regarding her last workout, which was less than ideal. However, if you've been following the Shug McGaughey filly, you know she's notorious cantankerous on the workout track to the point where McGaughey considered not running her in the Grade II Gulfstream Park Oaks. Ultimately, she did run her and she easily dispatched the field. Don't be too swayed by the workout reports.

From a value standpoint, Secret Oath at 6-1 seems like a gift given that she ran so well against the colts at the Arkansas Derby last month. Her workouts have been incredible since then so it does not appear the race took anything out of her as some feared it might. That said, her name recognition due to that Arkansas Derby run means that she'll likely take a lot of action at the betting windows. In terms of double-digit odds, Hidden Connection (20-1) and Venti Valentine (20-1) both provide great value and will probably not get bet down too significantly. Hidden Connection nearly tracked down Echo Zulu (4-1) last time out and should prefer the added distance. Meanwhile, Venti Valentine is coming off a second-place finish at the Grade III Gazelle last time out but has battled evenly with Nest in the past and shown the ability to handle the distance.

Horse Racing

Matthew DeSantis is a horse racing handicapper with a fondness for lightly raced horses with improving speed figures. You can find him at the track playing surface changes and second off the layoff.

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