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Kentucky Confidential

Oaks Day: Scheinman vs. Andrews

Grade 3 $300,000 Alysheba Stakes

John Scheinman “Action” Andy Andrews

With Wise Dan on the rail and Mission Impazible, First Dude and Regal Ransom in the field, there should be no shortage of speed in the Alysheba. Mission Impazible might get first jump on the leaders, but he will be hard-pressed to hold off the closers. I’m going to go with Demarcation for hometown trainer Paul McGee. This 7-year-old likes the course, returns to his favorite distance and beat Mission Impazible two back. Win machine has Rosie aboard and scores at a nice price. Giant Oak figures to rally into the pace as well. Only one win in past 10 starts is the prime concern, although he has come together and become a very solid horse. Mission Impazible continues to improve for the Pletcher barn and has a right to win this, but he’s winless at the track and distance and has many pace players to put away before the late runners come calling.

1. Demarcation
2. Giant Oak
3. Mission Impazible

Mission Impazible has improved his Beyer Speed Figures in each of his three starts this year. He has trained well coming into this race. He’s sitting on a big race and should sit a good trip behind Wise Dan and Regal Ransom. The Charles Lopresti barn is due to heat up. It might start here with Wise Dan and jockey Julien Leparoux going gate to wire. I think he’s the controlling speed, and he’s got the rail. He’s been a mile before and he has two wins over the surface. Giant Oak was put up by disqualification in the Grade I Clark Handicap last year at this track. He backed that up with another big Grade I win in the Donn Handicap at Gulfstream. He’s really turned out to be a solid horse in his past three or four races. Now he’s second off the layoff. He’ll be coming, and he’s a pretty honest horse.

1. Mission Impazible
2. Wise Dan
3. Giant Oak

Grade 1 $1 million Kentucky Oaks

John Scheinman “Action” Andy Andrews

Wonderfully loaded edition of the Oaks is evenly balanced except for one standout, Plum Pretty. Baffert filly’s last-out Beyer Speed Figure of 99 stands out like a beacon. Her training at Churchill has been ultra impressive, and you don’t win any $200,000 stakes race by 25 lengths without being a superstar. Believing. Daisy Devine is built like a tank, and her workout in the slop May 2 was a thing of beauty. Do a rain dance to ruin a lot of fancy hats so you can score at a price. Picking Joyful Victory above the splendid Kathmanblu (not to mention sleeper Bouquet Booth) is very difficult to do, but trainer Larry Jones appears to have this gray daughter of Tapit in peek form. Should handle the extra distance with aplomb.

1. Plum Pretty
2. Daisy Devine
3. Joyful Victory

Summer Soiree could be the start of a big weekend for Team Valor and trainer Graham Motion, who also have Animal Kingdom in the Kentucky Derby. She could not be coming into the race any better. With two wins by a combined 20-plus lengths this year. I project her to be sitting second behind Plum Pretty and then take the race to that filly on the turn. She also could be on the lead. Definitely forwardly placed. I like Zazu a lot, but, she doesn’t seem to want to pass them all. She is going to make a big run in this race, but I really think she needs blinkers. I think she’s the lock of the weekend to run second. Sadler has been pointing to this her last race. Kathmanblu shows up and runs her race every time. It should be no different this time. She’s a Grade 2 winner at this track. I really think the race at Keeneland last time should set her up perfectly for this. She was coming off a five-week rest then and now races off of three weeks. She’ll be in the second or third flight and probably get first run.

1. Summer Soiree
2. Zazu
3. Kathmanblu

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