The main event may be on Saturday, but there will be compelling action at Churchill Downs all weekend long. That starts Friday with a handful of graded stakes races, headlined by the 2018 $1 million Kentucky Oaks for three-year-old fillies. Though it may not attract the same kind of audience as its brother race, the Oaks is a very big–and very important–race with a bevy of extremely talented horses in the field.
The following Oaks Day races will all be broadcast live Friday on NBC Sports Network: Grade-2 Eight Belles (12:34 p.m. ET), La Troienne (1:17 p.m. ET), Grade-3 Twin Turf Sprint (2 p.m. ET), Grade-2 Alysheba (2:53 p.m. ET), Grade-3 Edgewood (5:04 p.m. ET) and the main event, the Grade-1 Kentucky Oaks (6:12 p.m. ET). If you don’t have cable or can’t get to a television, you can still watch all these races live on your computer, phone or streaming device by signing up for one of the following cable-free, live-TV streaming services:
Hulu With Live TV: In addition to their extensive Netflix-like streaming library, Hulu now also offers a bundle of live television channels, including NBC Sports Network. You can sign up for “Hulu with Live TV” right here, and you can then watch a live stream of the race on your computer via the Hulu website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Hulu app.
FuboTV: NBC Sports Network is included in the “Fubo Premier” channel package. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial, and you can then watch the race live on your computer via the FuboTV website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the FuboTV app.
DirecTV Now: NBC Sports Network is included in all four channel bundles. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial no matter what package you choose, and you can also get an Amazon Fire TV if you prepay two months. Once signed up, you can watch the race live on your computer via the DirecTV Now website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the DirecTV Now app.
There are generally two horses considered the main favorites in this year’s “Race for the Lillies”: Monomoy Girl and Midnight Bisou.
The former, who is trained by Brad Cox and jockeyed by Florent Geroux, has lost just once in six races, finishing second by a neck to Road to Victory at the Grade-2 Golden Rod back in November. But she has bounced back from that defeat with a pair of back-to-back wins in 2018, culminating with a dominant performance in the Grade-1 Ashland in April.
Midnight Bisou, who is trained by William Spawr, has won three in a row since Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith–who also rode Abel Tasman to a win in this race last year–climbed aboard. She took down the Grade-3 Santa Ysabel on a wet track–which could prove to be telling if we get rain at Churchill Downs on Friday–and followed that up with a four-and-a-half-length win at the Grade-1 Santa Anita Oaks a month ago.
While those two are the clear favorites, though, there are still a few candidates to challenge them on Friday night, as My Miss Lilly, Coach Rocks and Chocolate Martini are all coming off Grade-2 wins. Then there’s also Rayya, who will be looking to make it two straight Kentucky Oaks wins–and four overall–for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert.
The purse for the 2018 Kentucky Oaks is $1 million, with the winner taking home $600,000.
Source: Heavy Sports