Nest Justifies Kentucky Oaks Favoritism

Updated June 30, 2022
Updated June 30, 2022By Rowan Ward

The $1.25 million Kentucky Oaks (G1) is one of the most historic races in America, having been run at Churchill Downs since 1875.  The race drew an overflow field of promising three-year-old fillies: 14 in the main field, plus one on the also-eligible list. With such a big field of improving horses, this race will be an excellent betting race!

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Betting the Kentucky Oaks Online

Going to Churchill Downs to watch the Kentucky Oaks can be exciting, and this is the first year since 2019 that the track will allow a full crowd to witness the race in person. However, not everyone can get to Louisville, and some people do not want to deal with the lines and crowds at the racetrack on Oaks day. Fortunately, you can still be a part of the action from home!

Your best bet is to sign up for one of the top online sportsbooks. All of our recommended sportsbooks feature great Vegas odds, intuitive user interfaces, and trustworthy deposit and cash-out functions. They also offer excellent bonuses for all different kinds of horseplayers. Take a look, find out which sportsbooks offer the best bonuses for the bets you prefer to make and make your accounts.

Our expert reviews will help you bet the Kentucky Oaks with confidence!

Handicapping the 2022 Kentucky Oaks

This is the official field for the 2022 Kentucky Oaks, including post positions, trainers, and jockeys:

  1. Secret Oath (D. Wayne Lukas/Luis Saez) – 6-1
  2. Nostalgic (Bill Mott/Jose Ortiz) – 15-1
  3. Hidden Connection (Bret Calhoun/Reylu Gutierrez) – 20-1
  4. Nest (Todd Pletcher/Irad Ortiz, Jr.) – 5-2
  5. Goddess of Fire (Todd Pletcher/John Velazquez) – 15-1
  6. Yuugiri (Rodolphe Brisset/Florent Geroux) – 30-1
  7. Echo Zulu (Steve Asmussen/Joel Rosario) – 4-1
  8. Venti Valentine (Jose Abreu/Tyler Gaffalione) – 20-1
  9. Desert Dawn (Phil d’Amato/Umberto Rispoli) – 20-1
  10. Kathleen O. (Shug McGaughey/Javier Castellano) – 7-2
  11. Cocktail Moments (Ken McPeek/Corey Lanerie) – 30-1
  12. Candy Raid (Keith Desormeaux/Rafael Bejarano) – 30-1
  13. Shahama (Todd Pletcher/Flavien Prat) – 15-1
  14. Turnerloose (Brad Cox/Manuel Franco) – 20-1
  15. Beguine (Daniel Peitz/Ricardo Santana) – 30-1 – ALSO ELIGIBLE

Note that Beguine is entered as an also-eligible. If a horse scratches out of the main field before 9:00 a.m. EDT on Friday morning, she will be allowed into the field to run. However, if a scratch happens after that time, she will not be permitted to run since local betting on the Kentucky Oaks will have already opened.

Though these morning line odds can be a guide toward expected on-track action on these horses, your best bet in the Kentucky Oaks is to play the race at an online sportsbook. They offer fixed-odds wagering, meaning you can lock in the best odds when your Oaks horse is overlaid in the market!

Echo Zulu+350+400+350
Kathleen O.+425+400+450
Secret Oath+450+550+500
Hidden Connection+1600+1600+1200
Desert Dawn+1600+2000+1400

Kentucky Oaks Handicapping

Once you create your online betting account, it is time to figure out who you plan to bet in the Kentucky Oaks. The first step is to get to know the horses in the Kentucky Oaks field.

Kentucky Oaks Favorites

Nest looks like the goods coming into the Kentucky Oaks. She won both of her three-year-old preps with complete authority, and she won at the Oaks distance last year in the Demoiselle (G2). With so much speed in the race, the fact that she comes from off the pace should give her the right trip. Furthermore, with rain in the forecast, she has a very nice slop pedigree.

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The other horse likely to take a lot of money is Echo Zulu, but be ready to take a stand against her. She has a lot of speed — but so do Yuugiri, Venti Valentine, and Turnerloose and Echo Zulu has yet to show she is fast enough to clear them easily. That gives her a tough task off of just one prep that she was all out to win. This all spells out an underlay on her.

Kentucky Oaks Contenders

Secret Oath tried males in the Arkansas Derby (G1) in her final prep. Though she did not win, she still finished a good enough third (behind the improving Cyberknife) to look like a strong prospect for the Kentucky Oaks. Secret Oath did draw the rail in a big field, but she is a late runner, and she has also proven that she can stay engaged enough to win after a bad trip.

Kathleen O. is undefeated in four starts so far. Her maiden win came on a muddy track at Aqueduct, showing the ability to handle the likely wet track conditions. Her three wins at Gulfstream all came from well off the pace: important both because of all the speed in the Kentucky Oaks and because it takes a very good horse to reliably close at speed-favoring Gulfstream.

Kentucky Oaks Exotics Horses

Shahama is the only horse cutting back in trip for the Oaks: her last race came in the 1 3/16-mile UAE Oaks (G2). This undefeated filly is making her first start in the US, but she beat her foes in the UAE easily enough to make sense at the top level here. She will get an excellent setup for her off-pace style, and the rainy forecast worries little since she is by excellent off-track sire Munnings.

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Nostalgic is an improving filly at a square price. Last out, she won the Gazelle (G3) at Aqueduct over the Oaks distance. Though she was fairly close to the pace early, she has no trouble winning from a little further off if she needs, and she has the versatility to carve out a trip in the Kentucky Oaks. She also has a good pedigree for a wet track, worth noting given the forecast.

Kentucky Oaks Best Bets

These are the best bets to make in the 2022 Kentucky Oaks:

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About the Author

Rowan Ward
Rowan Ward

For a decade, Rowan Ward has been making horse race predictions and wagers in Chicago, and has been writing about horse racing for nearly just as long. Understanding the various factors that influence a race's outcome, they often find that the age-old saying "the pace makes the race" can uncover worthwhile betting opportunities. When it comes to handicapping, their favorite races are those held locally in Chicago, major stake races across the country, and two-year-old maiden races with intriguing bloodlines.

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