Kentucky Oaks 2014: Post Positions, Top Contenders at Churchill Downs

Andrew GouldFeatured ColumnistMay 2, 2014

LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 02:  Tiz Windy #2 leads Handmade #1 and Flipcup #3 across the finish line to win the 3rd race ahead of the 140th Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs on May 2, 2014 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The Kentucky Derby receives all of the spotlight at Churchill Downs, but it's not the only race on tap. A group of 13 female horses will prelude the Derby with the Kentucky Oaks on Friday, an event just as rich in tradition and prestige.

Before Rosie Napravnik attempts to become the first female jockey to win the Kentucky Derby, she'll ride the heavy favorite to take home first in the Oaks. Untapable is the heavy favorite after emerging victorious in her last three events.

But don't look past My Miss Sophia and Rosalind, each coming off victories of their own with renowned jockeys leading the way. Viewers will want to tune in early to make sure they soak in the full weekend worth of excitement in Louisville.


When: Friday, May 2

Where: Churchill Downs, Louisville, Kentucky

TV: NBC Sports Network (coverage beings at 3 p.m. ET, post time approximately 5:45 p.m.)


Kentucky Oaks Post Positions and Odds
Post PositionHorseJockeyOdds
1Please ExplainJose Lezcano41/1
2Ria AntoniaMike Smith5/1
3Sugar ShockCalvin Borel9/1
4RosalindJoel Rosario8/1
5Thank You Mary LouJulien Leparoux16/1
6Kiss MoonVictor Espinoza35/1
7Fashion PlateGary Stevens12/1
8Aurelia's BelleChanning Hill32/1
9Unbridled ForeverRobby Albarado12/1
10Empress of MidwayCorey Nakatani48/1
11My Miss SophiaJavier Castellano6/1
12Got LuckyJohn Velazquez26/1
13UntapableRosie Napravnik3/2


Odds, courtesy of, as of Friday, 2:30 p.m. ET.


Top Contenders


If the oddsmakers know what they're doing, Untapable will run away with a decisive victory at Churchill Downs.

In her two races this year, Untapable has left little doubt in triumph, cruising to easy victories at Fair Grounds Oaks and Rachel Alexandra by a combined 17 3/4 lengths.

Before handing the filly first place, consider that neither of those were Grade I events, meaning the competition gets much steeper for the favorite this time around. The favorable odds are warranted, but don't expect another colossal rout.

LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 04:  Rosie Napravnik looks on after winning a race prior to the 139th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 4, 2013 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

She has a skilled jockey at the helm in Napravnik, who became the first female jockey to win at the Oaks with Believe You Can in 2012. She'll look to make her mark again with an incredibly talented horse, who she raved about to the Lexington Herald Leader's Alicia Wincze Hughes.

"She's doing everything exactly the right way," Napravnik said. "She's just always been improving since the first race that she ran."

Untapable isn't unbeatable, but a crown could be well on the horizon.


My Miss Sophia

The team of Todd Pletcher and Javier Castellano will have something to say about Untapable coasting to an easy win.

According to Equibase, Castellano has the most earnings by a wide margin, netting over $6 million in winnings while no other jockey has tallied more than $5 million. His 123 first-place finishes trail Russell Baze for the highest mark by two victories.

Pletcher has also out-grossed the next-best trainer by nearly $3.6 million, making the two a ferocious tandem looking to steer My Miss Sophia to the finish line.

The offspring of Unbridled’s Song, My Miss Sophia won her lone race of 2014, a 1 1/8-mile Grade II event. That matches the distance each horse needs to cover at Churchill Downs.

While still relatively untested, her strong pedigree and crew make her a contender that should not be taken lightly.



Garry Jones/Associated Press

Along with the other favorites, Rosalind has a premier jockey on the saddle in Joel Rosario, who has generated the third-most winnings of 2014, per Equibase's calculations, with a 50 percent rate of finishing in the top three.

Rosalind has finished in the top three every time, including a victory at Ashland earlier in April.

Horse Racing Nation's Brian Zipse believes she holds an endurance advantage over the field that will work to her advantage down the stretch.

The most consistent closer in the field, she looks to take advantage of a contentious pace that could leave many in the field feeling leg weary through the final quarter mile. If she is indeed as good on dirt as the BC Juvenile Fillies would make it appear, she is primed to make her presence felt in a big way late.

Yet all of her races have occurred on 1 1/16-mile tracks, so it remains to be seen if her superb closing speed translates onto the wider course. If it does, the other 12 horses better look out.