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Untapable has won twice in as many starts at Churchill Downs and enters the Kentucky Oaks off of back-to-back graded stakes wins by a combined margin of 17 1/4 lengths. She is a worthy favorite. (Photo by Eclipse Sportswire)

The $1-million Kentucky Oaks is Friday and the field of 13 fillies offers plenty of value to anyone who doesn’t like the odds-on, morning-line favorite Untapable.

There’s not much not to like, though. Untapable has won her last two starts by a combined margin of 17 ¼ lengths, and she owns two wins in as many start on the Churchill Downs surface. The only thing going against her on Friday is that outside post postion (13) but that didn’t stop Rags to Riches (2007, post 11) or Plum Pretty (2011, post 12) or Lemons Forever (2006, post 14), the list goes on and on.


Untapable Inside

Photo by Eclipse Sportswire

I’ll talk in a minute about how to play Untapable to make some money if you, like the rest of the world, think Untapable is unbeatable. Let’s take a look at the other plays in the field.

Fashion Plate is 6-to-1 on the morning line, but could be bet down to much lower on race day. She’s enters the Oaks on her own winning streak. She won her last three starts, two of which were Grade 1 races, which is a level Untapable has yet to notch. She also ran the 1 1/16-mile Santa Anita Oaks six-tenths of a second faster than Untapable’s Fair Ground Oaks. That’s a little deceiving, though. Untapable didn’t need to press given her commanding lead. But it shows that Fashion Plate can keep up with Untapable if need be.

If you can get Fashion Plate at 6-to-1, it might be a good bet.

Sugar Shock is 12-to-1 on the morning line and is coming off a pair of graded stakes victories (and four straight wins) at Oaklawn Park. Those races weren’t as fast as Untapable or Fashion Plate’s recent efforts, but in both the Grade 3 Honeybee and the Grade 3 Fantasy, Sugar Shock had to fight for the win. Adding Calvin Borel is nothing but good news for this horse.

My Miss Sophia has really liked stretching out in each of her three races. She’s 8-to-1 on the morning line. Got Lucky has run second to both My Miss Sophia and Untapable in her last two. She’s 20-to-1.

Rosalind is the co-winner of the Central Bank Ashland Stakes at Keeneland and is another top choice along with Untapable, Fashion Plate and My Miss Sophia. She’s 8-to-1 as well. She ran a huge race in the Ashland and put up big numbers, but that race was on Keeneland’s synthetic Polytrack surface. No winner of the Ashland has captured the Oaks since Silverbulletday in 1999, and that was before the synthetic surface was installed.

My choice for this race is Untapable, but I like the value in Sugar Shock. I think that Sugar Shock could be there with the leaders at the end fighting for a piece of it, and might even pull of an upset.


Sugar Shoick Inside

Photo by Eclipse Sportswire

I’m going to play Sugar Shack on top and bottom of the field, giving some extra weight to the Untapable exactas. If I can get good odds on Sugar Shack, I’ll bet her across the board as well. If Fashion Plate goes off at 8-to-1 or higher, I like making similar plays with her.

In multi-race wagers going through the Oaks, there’s no reason to single Untapable here. This is a 13-horse race, so spread out a little. I’m making Untapable, Fashion Plate and Sugar Shock all “A” horses, and spreading out some of the bomb longshots as “B” horses. As good as Untapable looks, I don’t think she warrants a single in a 13-horse field.

Good luck!

$1-million Longines Kentucky Oaks

Friday, Churchill Downs, Race 11, Post Time 5:49 p.m. ET

1 1/8 miles, 3-year-old fillies






Please Explain 

Jose Lezcano 

Thomas F. Proctor

Ria Antonia 

Mike E. Smith 

Bob Baffert

Sugar Shock 

Calvin H. Borel 

Doug L. Anderson


Joel Rosario 

Kenneth G. McPeek


Thank You Marylou 

Julien R. Leparoux 

Michael J. Maker

Kiss Moon 

Victor Espinoza 

David R. Vance

Fashion Plate 

Gary L. Stevens 

Simon Callaghan

Aurelia's Belle 

Channing Hill 

Wayne M. Catalano

Unbridled Forever 

Robby Albarado 

Dallas Stewart


Empress of Midway 

Corey S. Nakatani 

Doug F. O'Neill


My Miss Sophia 

Javier Castellano 

Todd A. Pletcher


Got Lucky 

John R. Velazquez 

Todd A. Pletcher



Rosie Napravnik 

Steven M. Asmussen



Image Description

David Hill

David Hill is a writer, an agitator, a comedian and a gambler. He grew up in Hot Springs, Arkansas near the Oaklawn Park. Today he lives in New York City. Further reading at

Image Description

David Hill

David Hill is a writer, an agitator, a comedian and a gambler. He grew up in Hot Springs, Arkansas near the Oaklawn Park. Today he lives in New York City. Further reading at

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