The Kentucky Derby is without question the world’s most famous Thoroughbred race. This marks the 145th consecutive year for the Run for the Roses and every one has come at that iconic oval in Louisville, Kentucky known as Churchill Downs. One fact people don’t always realize is the Kentucky Oaks, which is the race for three-year old fillies on the Friday before the Derby, has also been run for those same amount of years. Because we absolutely understand that females truly rule the world, we wanted to kick off a two-week extravaganza of coverage with talk about the blanket of lilies for these wonderful fillies. One of the frontrunners in the Oaks chase is no doubt Bellafina (pictured). Three wins in three starts this year and six wins in eight lifetime trips to the track tells us she knows how to get to the circle.

“She has done everything you could hope for in her three races this year,” says trainer Simon Callaghan. “We are very happy with her moving towards the Kentucky Oaks.”

Bellafina is the likely post-time favorite in the 145th Oaks, but there are plenty of talented challengers. Gulfstream Oaks winner Champagne Anyone ranks second in qualifying points, Street Band will be saddled by two-time Oaks winner Larry Jones, Restless Rider has won at Churchill and been first or second in all 7 career starts, Motion Emotion has serious front-running speed, and Lady Apple is fresh off an impressive score in the Fantasy Stakes.

The mile and an eighth Kentucky Oaks is slated for May 3 with an overall purse of $1.25 million. (photo by Benoit)

Kaleem Shah’s Bellafina and jockey Flavien Prat win the Grade I, $400,000 Santa Anita Oaks, Saturday, April 6, 2019 at Santa Anita Park, Arcadia CA.