The Kentucky Derby is less than two weeks away, and for months, the sport has focused obsessively on the three-year-old male horses that will run at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May, in the event often referred to as the only horse race most Americans care about.
Lost in the hoopla can be the race that takes place the day before, the one for three-year-old fillies. The Kentucky Oaks will be run a week from today, on Friday, May 3, and in its 138-year history, it’s been won by such Hall of Famers as Cicada, Davona Dale, Dark Mirage, and Silverbulletday.
When the race goes off this year, its most impressive alumnus will be 80 miles east of Churchill Downs, on a farm in Lexington. Now seven years old, she will, if she’s lucky, get to go outside for a few hours, to graze in a pasture. She’ll be under near-constant surveillance, but not because, in 2009, she won the Kentucky Oaks, the first of five Grade 1 races she’d win en route to making history and being named the Horse of the Year.
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