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Adam Haynes

This is where you’ll find free Kentucky Oaks picks from our in-house handicappers and experts. Join us as we discuss the rationale for our selections from a wide range of markets including futures and exotic bets.

Who are the Main Kentucky Oaks Contenders in 2024?

Kentucky Oaks favorites include Tarifa, Where’s My Ring, and Thorpedo Anna. Considered the strongest of the field, these are the candidates likeliest to cause a stir on May 3 at Churchill Downs. You can find all odds for the Oaks at the best Kentucky Derby racebooks online.


Dual Grade II winner at the New Orleans Fair Grounds, handling very different conditions on the track. Brad Cox barn has saddled two of the last six winners of the Kentucky Oaks and this filly represents powerful global owner-breeders.

Kentucky Oaks Picks Tarifa

Sire won the 2006 Preakness and stayed further. Only slight concern is that she didn’t make the show when a beaten favorite and poor fourth at Churchill Downs in the fall, but she was restless in the gate. It might not have been her true running.

Where’s My Ring

Took her form to a new level on first career start outside of California with Grade III success at Aqueduct for Val Brinkerhoff the last day. Only eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies races in the fall, but was a longshot. Sire a dual Grade II winner over the Kentucky Oaks trip and out of a Tapit mare.

Power Squeeze

Progressing nicely after Black Type, Listed and now Grade II Gulfstream Park Oaks victories in Florida this year. Her stamina-laden sire won the 2012 Belmont Stakes, while dam side of pedigree also suggests this longer trip no problem.

Leslie’s Rose

Three-length defeat of Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies heroine Just F Y I in the Grade I Ashland Stakes at Keeneland latest may be the best piece of form on offer for the Kentucky Oaks. That is a big step back in the right direction after only showing when a hot favorite at Gulfstream Park previously.

Todd Pletcher barn has won this race four times in the last 20 years. Regally bred filly by Into Mischief out of a Galileo mare with a great blend of speed and stamina on pedigree. Has a big shout of victory at Churchill Downs.

Thorpedo Anna

Win and place from two starts at the track, but benefitted from winter break with an impressive return in the Grade III Fantasy Stakes at Oaklawn Park. Relying on dam side of pedigree to find stamina required, but damsire has proved really versatile at stud.

Just F Y I

Dual juvenile Grade I winner including the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita in the fall. No match for Leslie’s Rose when placed in the Ashland Stakes around Keeneland on her return.

She may have needed the run after 154 days off the track against a race-fit rival, however, and has most career earnings of the leading contenders in the bank. William Mott barn has never won the Kentucky Oaks, but she’s a classy filly by Triple Crown hero Justify out of a Street Cry mare.

Kentucky Oaks Picks And Analysis from Our Handicappers

Our handicappers believe in the power of versatility when making their Kentucky Oaks picks. Rather than place all their eggs in one basket by choosing winners, they look to other wagers and markets for additional value. This means analyzing and selecting horses from futures, top 3 to place or show, and other suitable bets.

Kentucky Oaks Predictions To Win

Typically the first of our Kentucky Oaks picks to be made is the winning horse. When most are learning how to bet on the Kentucky Derby and Oaks, this is often the market of choice. Simplistic in nature, you win your bet if the horse chosen is the official victor of the race.

Just F Y I silks Kentucky Oaks Just F Y I

Bettors looking for value on this year’s Kentucky Oaks should wager on Just F Y I. The +500 price with SportsBetting.ag is above her Morning Line odds of 9-2, but it’s her juvenile form that makes her so interesting.

Although only placing behind re-opposing rival Leslie’s Rose in the Ashland Stakes at Keeneland, that was her prep for this after five months off the track. The Bill Mott barn expects Just F Y I to strip fitter for that reappearance.

Despite three lengths to find on Leslie’s Rose, she was the best of these in the fall. Just F Y I has a Breeders’ Cup win on her resume. She will have been trained with this race in mind ever since. Just F Y I will certainly improve for the run.

Kentucky Oaks Top 3 Picks

The chances of seeing some returns from expert Kentucky Oaks tips may improve when you back a horse to finish in the top 3. The first horse across the line is the winner, while 2nd and 3rd are known as place and show. These wagers are available in pari-mutuel pool betting form.

Across the Board Bet – Leslie’s Rose

Leslie's Rose silks Wide draws and outside post positions haven’t been an issue in recent years, so the aforementioned Leslie’s Rose looks a solid Across the Board bet among Kentucky Oaks picks this year. It’s difficult to ignore her clear-cut Ashland Stakes success over Just F Y I.

Although race fit compared to that old rival, Leslie’s Rose was well on top at the wire. Three lengths leaves her with something in hand on Just F Y I. Her trainer, Todd Pletcher, won this in 2021 for the fourth time.

In case Just F Y I comes on for plenty for the run, however, it’s safer to bet Across the Board with Leslie’s Rose. Such a wager allows bettors to cover more bases here.

Show Bet – Tarifa

Tarifa silks Much depends on whether Tarifa stays calm in the gate from a middle draw, but there’s no doubt she is a much-improved filly from her last appearance at Churchill Downs. Godolphin’s Kentucky Oaks runner has won two decent Grade II prizes in Louisiana since and arrives here in good form.

There were definite excuses for her not making the show in a Claimer here in the fall. Tarifa wouldn’t settle and jinked left on her way out of the gate. Bettors are basically wagering on better behavior from her, because all the talent is there. It’s all about her attitude.

Two of the six most recent editions of the Kentucky Oaks have gone to her barn, so Tarifa is in the right hands. On form lines through Intricate, she should beat Thorpedo Anna who is also prominent in the betting.

Kentucky Oaks Longshot Picks

Betting value can sometimes be found in backing longshots to make a top 3 finish.  That reason alone may justify making Kentucky Oaks predictions from the left field. Our experts examine longshots for the race on the first Friday in May and give their reasons for why they might be going under the radar.

Power Squeeze

Power Squeeze silks Gulfstream Park Oaks heroine Power Squeeze clearly outstayed Ways And Means, who had the run of that race in Florida. It doesn’t make sense, then, that she has bigger Morning Line odds in a bid to confirm form.

Although under a ride from Daniel Centeno plenty turning for the home stretch, Power Squeeze responded to her rider. She showed the stamina in her breeding to get up and be on top by a length at the wire. It was a case of the further she went, the better she looked.

Power Squeeze just needs to prove she can do the business outside of Florida. A strongly run edition of this race will suit her just fine and she’s overpriced at +1200 with Sportsbetting.ag.

Kentucky Oaks Expert Picks for Exotic Bets

Exotic bets work differently from straight wagers but are worth considering as Kentucky Oaks picks. These bets are based on picking, for example, two or more horses to finish 1st and 2nd in order. Here are some variations of exotic bets you could look at.

Exacta Picks

If you’re not overly enthused at the prospect of just picking the Kentucky Oaks winner, an exacta allows you to choose 2nd place, too. To win your Exacta bet, you must predict the horses that finish 1st and 2nd in perfect order. A Quinella allows you to pick 1st and 2nd in any order, but the odds are reduced on account of less risk.

Kentucky Oaks Quinella – 13 & 14

The obvious exotic bet this year isn’t an Exacta, but a Quinella featuring the Ashland Stakes 1-2 of Leslie’s Rose (14) and Just F Y I (13) for first and second in any order. Leslie’s Rose could well confirm Keeneland form, or it’s possible that Just F Y I improves for the run. Their high outside draws from post positions 13 and 14 respectively aren’t an issue based on recent editions.

Trifecta Picks

Selecting three or more Kentucky Oaks picks to finish 1st, 2nd and 3rd in perfect order constitutes a Trifecta. This is the same whether you are making Kentucky Derby Trifecta picks the following day after the Oaks, or for another race in the US. The nature of Trifectas means that they can be hard to get right, but the payouts can be excellent.

Kentucky Oaks Trifecta Bets – 14-13-8 & 13-14-8

Based on our recommended standard wagers for the race, the two Trifecta combinations to bet are Leslie’s Rose (14) beating Just F Y I (13) with Tarifa (8) in third, or Just F Y I finishing first ahead of Leslie’s Rose and Tarifa. These three fillies look very much like the ones bettors should focus on with each bringing good form into this year’s edition.

The Stats Behind Picks for Kentucky Oaks

Experts apply known stats and key data before making their picks from the Kentucky Oaks field. This information, which is available online, includes everything from speed figures to results in prep races key to the overall Kentucky Derby schedule heading into May.

  • Betting Trends – One of the clearest indications of a horse’s strength heading to Churchill Downs is their odds. Favorites are usually priced shorter due to a myriad of positive indicators of quality, but there may be clues when prices fluctuate.
  • Wagering Favorites – Just two favorites from the last ten have won the Kentucky Oaks, however. Even the best horses may find Churchill Downs too much of a challenge – as such, avoid placing all eggs in one basket.
  • Speed Figures – The 2024 Oaks horses leaderboard helpfully outlines points scored throughout the season. But you can also find top speeds and times online, which can help with making Kentucky Oaks picks.
  • Trials and Prep Races – Horses will compete in races before heading to Churchill Downs and these offer an insight into their quality. Whether it’s the Rachel Alexandra Stakes and Fair Grounds Oaks or Ashland Stakes and Indiana Oaks.
  • Post Positions – We know that Kentucky Derby post positions (favorable when low) can have a significant impact on the race. Looking over Kentucky Oaks results tells a slightly different tale. 2023 saw post 14 victorious, while 10 and 13 won in 2021 and 2019, respectively.
  • Jockeys and Trainers – Horses from high-achieving barns that have promising trainer and jockey relationships are always worth considering.

How Our Experts Make Kentucky Oaks Selections

There is no one area our handicappers consider over any other when making their selections. Instead, we treat the acts of research and analysis holistically. From assessing speed to considering trends relative to previous Kentucky Oaks results, we aim to build the bigger picture before making picks.

Horse Pedigree

As the genetic makeup of a horse owes everything to its parents, pedigree is understandably crucial. This is even more so with horses that are a relatively young age of three and without significant experience in major races. Such as all Kentucky Oaks entries.

Our experts look to establish lineage and may be encouraged to rate a horse based on it. Talented dams and/or sires don’t guarantee success – for example, offspring from champion Thoroughbred Uncle Mo has a 0-5 record in the race. But this is an outlier worthy of conversation, meaning it’s rare for quality not to be passed down.


The record of horses in recent races is one of the key metrics used by handicappers in the Kentucky Oaks. But again, the short careers of these creatures enjoyed to date means that the sample size is not huge. But a horse coming in with impressive performances elsewhere will stand out.

One of the best ways our experts approach the matter of form is to treat some prep horse races and trials above others. For example, seven previous Ashland Stakes winners like Malathaat (2021) have become champions of the Oaks while champs of the Santa Anita Oaks share four.

Kentucky Oaks Odds

Horse racing betting sites and sportsbooks get things right more often than they get them wrong. But the simple fact is that favorites have a 20% win rate since 2013. While locking in picks based on odds alone is seldom a good idea, it’s even less recommended due to this stat.

Odds can tell us much about the profile of a filly heading to Kentucky. But they are certainly not as indicative of success as, say, Kentucky Derby odds for horses from 2013-18, who were all favorites. Trends for this race, on the other hand, should actively encourage bettors to consider non-favorites.

Speed and Stamina

Both tactical speed and impressive stamina are required to match the requirements of the Kentucky Oaks. Therefore, intelligent bettors should look to find proof (or the next best thing) of a horse’s ability to traverse Churchill Downs. Researching previous results and speed figures are good methods to use to find these out.

Although the Oaks is the greatest test a horse will have up to the race, not all champions had previous wins. Although graded stakes-winning, three-year-old fillies are likely to be well-backed, fast, and durable horses with 2nds and 3rds could sometimes offer value in betting markets – especially when so few favorites have won recently.

Combined Analysis

When all bases have been covered, from a horse’s overall profile to the benefit of backing them, our experts arrive at their picks. You will notice that our in-house handicappers provide expert rationale for each of their selections.

It is this combined analysis that has brought our experts to us. And while we may not get every result right, the use of substantial data and statistical analysis means we follow every step the right way.


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Adam Haynes

Our racebook reviewer Adam Haynes knows what best in class looks like and gives a balanced view of all those betting sites that appear here. If you want to know the pros and cons of wagering with a firm, he knows them from every angle.