Gulfstream Park’s series of Road to the Kentucky Oaks races comes to an end on Saturday, April 1, with the $250,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks! The race offers 100-40-30-20-10 Kentucky Oaks points to its top five finishers. This means the winner punches their ticket to the Oaks, the second-place finisher is probably well positioned, and even the next three across the wire could be in a good spot if they have one or two other good prep-race outings.
The race is open to three-year-old fillies and drew a field of eight. The morning-line favorite is Miracle, most recently second in the Rachel Alexandra (G2) at Fair Grounds, though other leading contenders include Davona Dale (G2) winner Dorth Vader and Forward Gal (G3) third-place finisher Atomically.
2020 Preakness winner Swiss Skydiver won the 2020 Gulfstream Park Oaks as part of her Eclipse-winning campaign. Other marquee winners of this race throughout its history, stretching back to when it was previously called the Bonnie Miss, include Ivanavinalot (2003), the dam of champion Songbird; Kentucky Oaks winner and champion Open Mind (1999); Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner and champion Inside Information (1994); and Kentucky Oaks winner and champion Davona Dale (1979).
Race Date: Saturday, April 1, 2023
Track: Gulfstream Park
Post Time: 5:15 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time
Distance: 1 1/16 miles
Age/Sex: three-year-old fillies
Where to Watch: FanDuel TVWhere to Bet: TVG.com and FanDuel Racing
This is the field for the 2023 Gulfstream Park Oaks, organized by post position and including trainers, jockeys, and morning-line odds set by the Gulfstream Park oddsmaker.
|1||Flakes||Juan Alvarado||Edgard Zayas||15-1|
|2||Infinite Diamond||Patrick Biancone||Joel Rosario||6-1|
|3||Just Katherine||Jose Jimenez||Leonel Reyes||15-1|
|4||Affirmative Lady||Graham Motion||Luis Saez||10-1|
|5||Miracle||Todd Pletcher||Irad Ortiz, Jr.||5-2|
|6||Atomically||Todd Pletcher||Jose Ortiz||7-2|
|7||Sacred Wish||George Weaver||Javier Castellano||9-2|
|8||Dorth Vader||Michael Yates||Miguel Vasquez||4-1|
Three of the eight runners come out of Kentucky Oaks preps at Gulfstream in their last start. Dorth Vader, the long-shot winner of the Davona Dale, leads that charge; fourth-place Infinite Diamond also comes out of that race. Atomically, third in the Forward Gal when last seen, also presses on to the Gulfstream Park Oaks.
The only other runner to come out of an Oaks points race is Miracle, who most recently finished second in the Rachel Alexandra (G2) at Fair Grounds.
The other four runners each come out of non-stakes engagements. Affirmative Lady comes out of a maiden special weight win at Gulfstream, though she hit the board in both the Demoiselle (G2) and the Busanda, so she has already begun to amass Oaks points. Just Katherine comes out of a maiden win at Gulfstream, while Flakes comes out of a first-level Florida-bred allowance win there. Sacred Wish ships out from Oaklawn after breaking her maiden there.
These are the runners in the 2023 Gulfstream Park Oaks, organized by post position:
Flakes: She broke her maiden at Gulfstream on debut and won a Florida-bred allowance sprint last out in stalk-and-pounce fashion, but was well beaten when trying graded foes in the Forward Gal back in February. In addition to the class question, she also has to answer the two-turn question, though she is by Frosted out of a two-turn stakes winner, giving her some chance to hold her form over this longer trip.
Infinite Diamond: Her best form has come at Gulfstream Park, with a 14-length wire-to-wire maiden win last September as well as a stalk-and-pounce victory in the Cash Run two back. However, she settled off a fast pace in the Davona Dale last out and still only managed to chase home a flat fourth, well behind a sharp Dorth Vader. She also has to answer the two-turn question, though the only time she tried this distance was against much tougher in the Alcibiades (G1) last year.
Just Katherine: She graduated third out in a maiden special at Gulfstream last out; with three credible outings over the course, she obviously likes the footing. She has shown some pace versatility and ought to be able to stay up close while stretching out to a route, a positive on a big race day at Gulfstream. She also has the pedigree to improve on the stretch out, for a barn that does well first-time route. A win may be a lot to ask, but there’s enough to intrigue for exotics.
Affirmative Lady: She finally graduated last out at Gulfstream over the same course and distance as this race, but her form in a pair of points preps at Aqueduct suggests she has both the class and the stamina for this. Trainer Graham Motion straps on the blinkers, a strong move for his barn, and she gets a switch to high-percentage rider Luis Saez. She has upside and should be able to work a decent trip.
Miracle: She has not missed the board in five starts, which have come at three different tracks. She finished a close second in the Rachel Alexandra after setting the pace, not a bad outing off a long layoff, and the horse who beat her came back to finish second in the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2). Her frontrunning style also makes her the one to catch over a track that plays well for early speed.
Atomically: She has freshened for about two months after a third-place finish in the Forward Gal, her only start since running seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. She is already a winner over this course and distance against Florida-breds last year, and did so fast enough to make her fit against this open field. Especially after a less-than-great start last out, this tactical runner has upside to do better this time.
Sacred Wish: This lightly-raced filly has only run in a pair of maiden sprints at Oaklawn, graduating second time out in stalk-and-pounce fashion. She now moved to the George Weaver barn; Weaver is having a solid Gulfstream meet. The stretch out to two turns appeals for her pedigree, as well. In a wide-open race, she has some upside, though her lack of experience is a downside.
Dorth Vader: Dismissed at 46-1 in the Davona Dale, her first start in almost two months, she looked like a revelation in her 4 3/4-length romp. Shet racked in range of a rip-roaring early pace that day, and should get a similar outside-stalking trip behind a pace that might not be quite that hot this time around. Her trainer Michael Yates does well with last-out winners, and if Dorth Vader runs back to that (or even improves second off the freshening), she shapes as a major contender.
All of the last ten winners of the Gulfstream Park Oaks hit the board in their last start, and nine of the last ten winners raced at Gulfstream last out. Five of the last ten winners made their most recent start in the Davona Dale. Though only Kathleen O (2022) won it, Dreaming of Julia (2013), Birdatthewire (2015), and Crazy Beautiful (2021) were second, and Champagne Anyone (2019) was third.
Four other recent winners came out of non-stakes victories at Gulfstream and then won their stakes debut in the Gulfstream Park Oaks. In Tune (2014) came out of an allowance victory, while Go Maggie Go (2016), Salty (2017), and Coach Rocks (2018) came out of maiden special weights.
The only recent Gulfstream Park Oaks winner not to make her last start at Gulfstream was Swiss Skydiver, who won the race off of a third-place finish in the Rachel Alexandra at Fair Grounds.
The Gulfstream Park Oaks is the 12th of 14 races on the Florida Derby day card. It is one of ten stakes on the card, which features the $1 million Florida Derby (G1), a 100-point prep race for the Kentucky Derby.
Other stakes races include the $200,000 Pan American (G3) for open long-distance turf horses, the $150,000 Orchid (G3) for filly and mare long-distance turf runners, the $150,000 Ghostzapper (G3) for older dirt routers, the $100,000 Cutler Bay for sophomore middle-distance turf horses, the $100,000 Sir Shackleton for older sprinters, the $150,000 Sand Springs for older middle-distance turf fillies and mares, and $100,000 Sanibel Island for sophomore middle-distance grass fillies, and the $150,000 Appleton for older turf milers.
Few days feature this many top horses and this much stakes action, so make plans to watch and wager on Gulfstream Park all day Saturday through FanDuel and TVG!
Gulfstream Park is the historic racetrack that hosts the Gulfstream Park Oaks each year. It is the only American racetrack that offers all three racing surfaces: conventional dirt, turf, and a synthetic Tapeta surface. The outer track is a dirt course measuring one and one-eighth miles around, complete with a chute that allows for classic one-turn dirt mile races. The next track inward is a one-mile and seventy-yard Tapeta track that opened in 2021. The inner course is a seven-furlong turf track.
Gulfstream Park has hosted many major races over the years, including the Breeders’ Cup in 1989, 1992, and 1999. In 2017, the race ran the rich Pegasus World Cup for the first time, which was at one time the world’s richest horse race. But the Gulfstream Park Oaks, run along the road to the Kentucky Derby, remains Gulfstream Park’s most established and famous race.
Q: When is the Gulfstream Park Oaks?
A: The 2023 Gulfstream Park Oaks will be run Saturday, April 1, at 5:15 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The race is carded as the 12th of 14 on the Gulfstream card.
Q: Where is the Gulfstream Park Oaks?
A: It takes place at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida.
Q: Which trainer has the most wins in the Gulfstream Park Oaks?
A: Shug McGaughey leads all trainers with five wins in the Gulfstream Park Oaks, most recently with Kathleen O. in 2022. Todd Pletcher, who entered both Miracle and Atomically, has two live chances to tie McGaughey’s record this year. Pletcher has four wins already between 2010 and 2014.
Q: Who is the favorite for the 2023 Gulfstream Park Oaks?
A: Miracle was named the 5-2 morning-line favorite for the 2023 Gulfstream Park Oaks off of her close second in the Rachel Alexandra. She is the most likely favorite, though Atomically, Dorth Vader, or Sacred Wish are ones to watch the action on closely since they could take significant money on race day as well.
Q: Who is the best Gulfstream Park Oaks jockey?
A: Jockeys Jerry Bailey and John Velazquez both have five wins in the Gulfstream Park Oaks. Though Velazquez is still an active rider, he does not have a mount in this year’s edition. Among jockeys who will ride in the 2023 Gulfstream Park Oaks, Javier Castellano leads with three. He rides Sacred Wish this year.
Q: Who won the 2022 Gulfstream Park Oaks?
A: Kathleen O. won the 2022 Gulfstream Park Oaks for trainer Shug McGaughey and jockey Javier Castellano. McGaughey does not have a horse in this year’s edition, though Castellano rides Sacred Wish for trainer George Weaver.
Horses being ridden by work riders during a Singapore Turf Club trackwork session on May 15, 2014 in Singapore.Neville Hopwood | Getty Images Sport | Getty Imag
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