Speculation is indeed one of the best parts of the sporting world. The excitement created by dreaming of what might be is no doubt one of the finer things in life. The wonderful world of Thoroughbred horse racing often thrives on just that, the speculation that is. Because these athletes do not compete on a daily or even weekly basis, there is plenty of time to dream a little dream.

With that intro, let’s do a little thinking about that other race for three-year-olds that takes place around the first of May. This one is for the females and is called the Kentucky Oaks. Right now there are a couple of eye-popping fillies that could be competing for that blanket of lilies on the first Friday in May. Recent runs by each have provided more than a few palpitating possibilities when considering what might be.

Justique is a west coast looker for sure. Built for success, her late-running style makes for plenty of excitement. In her last start, this daughter of Triple Crown Champion Justify dropped more jaws than the Swiss bikini team. Breaking slowly in the Desi Arnaz Stakes at Del Mar on November 19, this John Shirreffs trained filly was a good 12 lengths behind the frontrunners a quarter mile into this seven-furlong foray. Making up ground quickly once her stride began to lengthen, jockey Victor Espinoza swung five wide at the top of the stretch and bolted to the lead. Strutting her stuff like a runway model, Justique cruised home much the best and picked up her second win in three-lifetime starts.

“She has the long legs to make her stride rhythmic and flowing”, says her trainer, John Shirreffs. “This filly really has some athleticism.”

Hoosier Philly has turned more than a few heads with three very impressive wins in as many starts. Running out of the Tom Amoss barn, this daughter of Into Mischief has made things look awfully easy in her three triumphant runs at Churchill Downs. Winning by a combined 11 ¼ lengths, the last two were in Stakes races (Rags to Riches, Golden Rod) and saw a geared-down Philly coasting to the wire. Does it bode well for this granddaughter of Tapit that these same Twin Spires are the home of the Kentucky Oaks? Being a horse for the course has never been a bad thing at Churchill Downs. Describing her as fantastic might be an understatement.

“I am not sure if I have ever had a horse like her,” says Tom Amoss, who has over 4,000 wins as a trainer including the 2019 Kentucky Oaks (Serengeti Empress). “She is going to get a little rest then likely will be at The Fair Grounds in Louisiana to start the year.”

Yes, the 2023 Kentucky Oaks is a looooong way away, but the thought of these two supermodels strutting their stuff on the same stage is part of what makes this wonderful world go round.

Hoosier Philly

(Photo by Coady)