2018 KY Oaks Futures: Fleet Fillies, Favorites, Longshots
In terms of a future wager, we may have a perfect storm with this year’s Oaks contenders. Unlike years where the Oaks field has been a total crapshoot or other years where there was a completely overwhelming filly a la Rachel Alexandra in 2009, conditions may be perfect for a late pool future wager. There are a couple of reasons for this: Midnight Bisou and Monomoy Girl.
In my estimation, these two fillies have clearly separated themselves from the group. The beauty of this for future betting purposes is that each will take away enough wagering attention from the other to leave a square price for anyone with a stone cold opinion.
On paper, they couldn’t be much diffferent. East coast front-runner (Monomoy Girl) versus west coast closer (Midnight Bisou). The thing they share is a love for winning impressively. On April 7, both fillies completed their final prep races for the Kentucky Oaks, with Monomoy Girl smashing her rivals in the Ashland Stakes at Keeneland and Midnight Bisou overwhelming her Santa Anita Oaks foes a few hours later.
Handicapping the Favorites
Ordinarily, I’d not be so stoked about the proposition of choosing between co-favorites in a futures pool, but the odds seem strangely appealing. Midnight Bisou is the +225 favorite at Bovada with Monomoy Girl close in tow at +275 as of the writing of this article.
For starters, I’m surprised the roles aren’t reversed. Monomoy Girl is already based in the state of Kentucky and has shown much more tactical speed than Midnight Bisou who will have to ship away from California for the first time in her career. It’s tough to knock Midnight Bisou on any level, but she also has a late-running style that makes her susceptible to traffic problems in any race – particularly one expected to draw 12-14 horses like the Kentucky Oaks.
I really like what I’ve seen from both fillies, but I have to give the edge here to Monomoy Girl. At +275, I think I’ll be getting a better deal than the toteboard will permit on race day when I expect her to enter the starting gate around 8/5. Monomoy Girl is a neck away from being unbeaten in 5 career starts, and has run mostly on the lead save for her come-from-behind 2 1/2-length score in the Rachel Alexandra Stakes earlier this year at Fair Grounds. Her versatility and handiness will maker her very difficult in the Oaks.
Others With a Shot
So far, we’ve focused solely on two horses, but this isn’t to suggest that no other runner has a shot. Once you get past Monomoy Girl and Midnight Bisou the rest of the field becomes pretty murky. One runner that stands out as a potential value-based selection is the improving Chocolate Martini at +2000. She won the Fair Grounds Oaks in her last start against a quality field and could certainly make some noise in the Kentucky Oaks.
I also think Eskimo Kisses (+1200) is an intriguing filly despite being a bit shorter-priced than I expected. She looks like the kind that will run all day and really appreciate the 1 1/8-mile distance of the Oaks.
Monomoy Girl is my pick – both now and on race day barring the discovery of any drastic information. I think she holds a speed edge over everyone not named Midnight Bisou and seems to be improving with each start. The rest of this crop may catch up to the top two later this summer, but right now these girls are just better.
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