Champion 2-year-old filly British Idiom, winner of the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (Grade I), tops the roster of 116 early nominations to the $1.25 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI), North America’s premier race for 3-year-old fillies that will be staged at Churchill Downs on Friday, May 1.
Owned in partnership by Michael Dubb, The Elkstone Group, Madaket Stables and Bethlehem Stables, British Idiom finished second in the $300,000 Rachel Alexandra (GII) on Feb. 15 to fellow Kentucky Oaks nominee Finite. British Idiom became one of the early Kentucky Oaks favorites following her commanding performance in the Oct. 4, $400,000 Alcibiades (GI) at Keeneland. The daughter of Flashback was able to close ground in the late stages of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies to defeat Donna Veloce by a neck.
Other top contenders that were nominated to the Longines Kentucky Oaks include Winchell Thoroughbreds, Thomas J. Reiman, William Dickson and Deborah Easter’s Finite, who currently sits atop the Road to the Kentucky Oaks leaderboard with 70 points; Kaleem Shah, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith’s Donna Veloce, who finished second behind the recently retired filly Bast in the $300,000 Starlet (GI) at Los Alamitos; and Ciaglia Racing, Highland Yard, River Oak Farm and Dominic Savides’ commanding 9 ¼-length winner of the $300,000 Las Virgenes (GII) Venetian Harbor.
Bob Baffert led all trainers with 13 horses nominated to the Kentucky Oaks, including Jane Wiltz and Sarah Kelly’s Las Virgenes runner-up Gingham and Don Alberto Stable’s impressive maiden winner Storie Blue.
Each of the 116 fillies nominated to the Oaks was made eligible by a $200 payment that was due Feb. 15. A complete list of nominations is available at https://www.churchilldowns.com/horsemen/stakes/nominations/.
Fillies not nominated to the Kentucky Oaks can be made eligible through a $1,500 late fee due April 11 or a $25,000 supplemental nomination due at the time of entry. The Oaks field is limited to 14 starters and up to four fillies can be designated as “also-eligible” to start. Eligibility to compete is determined by points amassed during the “Road to the Kentucky Oaks” point series.
Like the May 2 Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve, the Longines Kentucky Oaks has been run each year without interruption since 1875. The lucrative race is the centerpiece of a spectacular day of racing and entertainment at Churchill Downs that celebrates fashion, food, celebrity and fun with a focus on women’s health issues and outreach.