Mike Hartnett: Just like Derby, Oaks race a tough call

Mike Hartnett: Just like Derby, Oaks race a tough call

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - On paper, the Kentucky Derby appears to be a wide-open contest, and this just might be true for the Run For The Lillies as well.

Several of the fillies have run their career-best races heading to the first Friday in May, so it's shaping up to be a very competitive affair.

Here's a rundown of the top contenders for the Kentucky Oaks:

Paradise Woods -  Her last race, the Santa Anita Oaks, was simply brilliant. She won by almost 12 lengths, a new race record for the prestigious event. It was her first test beyond a mile, and her freakish performance could land her as the Oaks' morning-line favorite. Is this the next superstar of the filly ranks?

Farrell – Her nickname could be "Queen of New Orleans" as this girl captured all three of the preps at Fair Grounds: The Silverbulletday, the Rachel Alexandra and the Fair Grounds Oaks. She's on a roll, plus this filly has already won under the Twin Spires after her convincing victory  in  last fall's Golden Rod.

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Miss Sky Warrior – Like Paradise Woods,  this lady is also coming off her career-best effort. She roared to victory in the Gazelle at Aqueduct, taking the mile-and-an-eighth test by 13 lengths. It's a coin toss as to how good her competition has been, but she's won five straight races. Best of all, she's the only Oaks contender that's already won at the Oaks' mile-and-an-eighth distance ... and she's done it twice.

Salty – Hey, this filly stepped up her game in a hurry. In only her third career start, she was the runaway winner of the Gulfstream Park Oaks. In this race, she didn't have the best of trips in what was her first trip around two turns.  Just how good is Salty? She exudes talent, if not owning all that much experience.

Abel Tasman - She has a pair of Hall of Famers in her camp:  trainer Bob Baffert and jockey Mike Smith. This pair makes her a major player for the Oaks. She finished a distant second to Paradise Woods at Santa Anita but nobody was gonna beat the winner that day. The filly comes from off the pace so maybe the Oaks' extra distance will help her. Back in March, she ran second to the ultra-talented Unique Bella, who'll miss the Oaks with an injury.

The Run For The Lillies features some fantastic fillies and the stage is set for what could be one memorable Oaks Day at Churchill Downs.

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