THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 23 April 2014, Wednesday
Kentucky Oaks 2014
Los Angeles – Wherever you may be on the globe, if you’re a racing fan, you’re looking forward to the Kentucky Derby on May 3, one of the most prestigious races for 3YO colts and fillies and the first leg of the US Triple Crown.
On the first Saturday in May, fans wearing their most stylish hats or silliest headgear will converge at Churchill Downs to celebrate one of the biggest spectacles in the sport, with mint julep in one hand and the Daily Racing Form in the other.
The KY Derby isn’t the only big race happening on Derby weekend, though. There’s also the Kentucky Oaks for 3YO fillies on May 2. It has been held since 1875, the same year the KY Derby was first run.
Both races are G1 and are said to be the oldest continuously-held sporting events and the only ones still being staged at their original venues.
At the moment, this year’s Oaks contenders are, in order of points earned: Untapable, Sugar Shock, Fashion Plate, Awesome Baby, In Tune, My Miss Sophia, Rosalind, Euphrosyne, Room Service, Got Lucky, Aurelia’s Belle, House Rules, Ria Antonia, Kiss Moon, Fiftyshadesofgold, Unbridled Forever, Sweet Reason, and Thank You Marylou.
Untapable (Tapit x Fun House, by Prized) is fresh off victories in the Mar. 29 Fair Ground Oaks (G2), Feb. 22 Rachel Alexandra S. (G3), and last Sep. 7’s Pocahontas S. (G2).
Sugar Shock (Candy Ride x Enthusiastically, by Distorted Humor) won the Apr. 5 Fantasy S. (G3) at Oaklawn Park. Her sire, Candy Ride, is an undefeated Argentinean champion.
Fashion Plate (Old Fashioned x Miss Puzzle, by Citidancer) won two G1 races this year – the Apr. 5 Santa Anita Oaks and the Feb. 1 Las Virgenes S., both at Santa Anita Park.
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If winners of the KY Derby receive a blanket of roses, the winners of the KY Oaks are presented with a blanket of lilies. The stargazer lily is the race’s official flower.
Another fact about the KY Oaks is that for six years in a row now, the event has been a means for promoting breast cancer awareness. Fans who come to Churchill Downs for the race are encouraged to “pink out” in their best pink dresses and accessories and donate to Bright Pink, a non-profit organization that focuses on early detection of breast and ovarian cancer in young women.
Churchill Downs itself will donate $50,000 to Bright Pink.
The track will also give $1 from every sale of the KY Oaks’s official drink, the Oaks Lily (counterpart of the mint julep) to Horses and Hope, a group that promotes breast cancer education and treatment referrals among Kentucky horse industry workers and their families.
Sports for a cause – now that’s something we can all root for.