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The Kentucky Oaks

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Kentucky Oaks Handicapping

Handicapping Kentucky Oaks involves many variables

Bettors are asked to select a winner from a series of prep races leading up to the premiere event for three-year-old fillies in the spring.

Important factors include current form, run styles, pace scenario, BRIS Speed ratings, track conditions and pedigrees for the 1 1/8-mile race.

The Oaks is held early in the three-year-old season and contestants will enter the race at different points on the horse development curve. In terms of form, some contenders have already recorded peak efforts with the possibility of a regression given the steeper company and longer distance that the Oaks often presents, while others are just hitting their best stride, with the potential for rapid improvement as they move up the ladder.

Princess of Sylmar, who posted a 38-1 upset in the 2013 Kentucky Oaks and went to capture her next three starts over Grade 1 rivals, fits into the latter company.

Run styles enable us to envision how the race will set up -- tactical speed is generally an asset but a hot pace can set the table for late runners – and BRIS Speed ratings provide a comparable analysis of how fast they can run. Previous Oaks winners like Untapable and Rachel Alexandra were far superior to their rivals from a Speed rating perspective.

A wet track can favor runners who already proven under similar circumstances or possess strong breeding for sloppy or muddy conditions. Pedigree analysis is also valuable because some Oaks runners are invariably suited for shorter distances.

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