At even-money, Gamine enters Friday’s Kentucky Oaks as the shortest-priced favorite in 11 years, where she looms large over the smallest Oaks field in 15 years.

Gamine Oaks Draw
John Velazquez, who rode Gamine to a record 18 3/4-length victory in June’s Acorn Stakes, will pilot the even-money favorite in Friday’s Kentucky Oaks. (Image: Alton Strupp/Louisville Courier Journal)

Gamine starts the 146th running of the prestigious 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-old fillies from post 5 in the nine-horse field, drawn Monday afternoon at Churchill Downs.

Gamine’s even-money odds are the shortest for an Oaks favorite since the incomparable Rachel Alexandra entered the Oaks gate at 3/10 in 2009. All she did was dismantle her counterparts by a ridiculous 20 ¾ lengths. Fifteen days later, Rachel Alexandra would add a Triple Crown exclamation point, becoming the first filly to win the Preakness in 85 years.

Come Friday, Even Money on Gamine Will Look Good

Expect Gamine’s morning line odds to dip into odds-on territory. At 4/6 at several overseas books, she’s already there. That’s the byproduct of winning her last two starts – both Grade 1 events – by nearly 26 lengths.

“I like (post) five,” Gamine’s trainer, Bob Baffert, told Churchill Downs. “Being in the middle is always good. Right now, the most important thing is that she ships well, that she relaxes, gets in there, and breaks well. She’s training really well. We still have a few more hurdles (but) I’m happy with that spot.”

146th Kentucky Oaks

Here are the current post positions and morning lines for Friday’s Kentucky Oaks.

  1. Swiss Skydiver, 8/5 (Tyler Gaffalione)
  2. Tempers Rising, 50/1 (Julien Leparoux
  3. Donna Veloche, 15/1 (Ricardo Santana Jr.)
  4. Speech, 5/1 (Javier Castellano)
  5. Gamine, Even (John Velazquez)
  6. Bayerness, 50/1 (Rafael Bejarano)
  7. Shedaresthedevil, 20/1 (Florent Geroux)
  8. Hopeful Growth, 30/1 (Manny Franco)
  9. Dream Marie, 50/1 (Joe Talamo)

Putting a happy face on drawing the rail – post 1 – is Swiss Skydiver trainer Kenny McPeek. The 8/5 second choice, Swiss Skydiver used post-draw day to gallop and walk around the paddock. Swiss Skydiver comes in riding a four-race winning streak against fillies, with her only blip being a close second to Art Collector in the Blue Grass Stakes.

“It’s the shortest trip around there,” McPeek said. “I’d rather have the one than the nine. It’s out of my hands. We’ll just let (jockey) Tyler (Gaffalione) do his thing. He’s a great jock. We’ll probably just let her run into the first turn.”

Speech Sees Speed Inside and Outside

In between those two is 5/1 third choice, Speech, who finds herself in post 4 after enjoying a 5:30 a.m. gallop Monday morning. The Ashland Oaks champion came in from California over the weekend, and trainer Mike McCarthy wants her on the same dawn-patrol schedule she kept in California.

“We have speed just outside of us and on the inside, obviously, so I guess we know what our plan is now,” McCarthy said.

The Kentucky Oaks is the marquee race on Friday’s 13-race Churchill Downs card. Post time is approximately 2:45 p.m. PT.