Unique Bella Strong Favorite in Kentucky Oaks Future Pool

Don Alberto Stable's Unique Bella, the brightest star thus far in North America's 2017 crop of 3-year-old fillies, looms as a heavy bettors' choice to win this year's renewal of the $1 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI) when three days of wagering opens Friday in Churchill Downs Racetrack's 2017 Kentucky Oaks Future Wager (“KOFW).

The grey daughter of Tapit, a dominant winner in three of her four career starts for three-time Kentucky Oaks-winning trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, has been installed by Churchill Downs odds maker Mike Battaglia as the 8-5 favorite among 24 betting interests in the morning line odds for the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager pool. The Mutuel Field (#24), which includes all 3-year-old fillies other than the 23 individual wagering interests in the Oaks Future pool, is next at 8-1.

The Kentucky Oaks Future Wager provides racing fans with an opportunity to wager on contenders for the Kentucky Oaks, America's premier race for 3-year-old fillies, at odds that could be more attractive than those available on the day of America's greatest race. The Oaks Futures pool runs concurrently with Pool 3 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager and betting will open at noon (all times EST) on Friday, Feb. 24. Betting will conclude in the three-day Oaks pool on Sunday, Feb. 26 at 6:30 p.m., 30 minutes after the close of wagering in the Kentucky Derby Futures pool.

The Kentucky Oaks Future Wager offers $2 minimum win wagering on 24 betting interests that include 23 individual horses and the Mutuel Field, which includes all 3-year-old fillies other than the individual wagering interests in the pool. The Oaks wager also offers $2 exacta betting on the 24 wagering interests, with the latter also available in $1 minimum increments in boxes and other multiple number configurations.

No scratches or refunds are permitted in the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager. Should Churchill Downs officials determine that an injury, illness or other circumstance would prohibit one of the individual wagering interests from competing in the 2017 Kentucky Oaks, wagering will be immediately suspended on those individual.

Unique Bella finished second in her career debut at Santa Anita in June, but the Pennsylvania-bred star has not faced a serious challenge in three subsequent starts won by a combined margin of 26 ½ lengths. That winning streak includes an easy 7 ½-length romp in the Santa Ynez (GII) and an 8 ¾-length triumph in the Las Virgenes (GII), both run at Santa Anita. Jockey Mike Smith has been in the saddle in all of her races.

Other individual fillies that are expected to attract solid support on the 2017 KOFW pool include and Clearsky Farm's Abel Tasman (#1, 10-1), whose three wins from four career outings includes the Starlet (GI) at Los Alamitos, and Unique Bella's Hollendorfer-trained stablemate It Tiz Well (#9, 12-1), Tommy Town Thoroughbreds LLC's daughter of Arch who was runner-up to the Oaks Futures favorite in the Santa Ynez and a winner in two of her four career races. Also at 12-1 is Stonestreet Stables LLC's Valadorna (#23), the Mark Casse-trained runner-up in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI). Coffeepot Stables' Farrell (#7, 15-1), winner of Churchill Downs' Golden Rod (GII) and the Silverbulletday at Fair Grounds in her last two races, and the Doug O'Neill-trained Delta Princess (GIII) winner Shane's Girlfriend (#19, 15-1) are next in line.

Other accomplished fillies on the KOFW betting roster include Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI) winner and reigning 3-year-old filly champion Champagne Room (#2, 20-1), who finished third to Unique Bella in the Las Virgenes; Moptotism (#13, 20-1), the O'Neill-trained runner-up to Unique Bella in the Las Virgenes; and Pretty City Dancer (#17, 20-1), the Casse-trained winner of Saratoga's Spinaway (GI) and Churchill Downs' Debutante and runner-up to KOFW Tequilita (#21, 50-1) in her 2017 debut in the Forward Gal (GII) at Gulfstream Park.

2017 Kentucky Oaks Future Wager

Friday, Feb. 24 – Sunday, Feb. 26

# Wagering Interest Trainer Morning Line Odds    
1 Abel Tasman Simon Callaghan 10-1    
2 Champagne Room Peter Eurton 20-1    
3 Chanel's Legacy Lynn Chleborad 50-1    
4 Daddys Lil Darling Kenny McPeek 50-1    
5 Delphinia Wesley Ward 30-1    
6 Elate Bill Mott 30-1    
7 Farrell Wayne Catalano 15-1    
8 Ghalia Todd Pletcher 30-1    
9 It Tiz Well Jerry Hollendorfer 12-1    
10 Jenda's Agenda Larry Jones 30-1    
11 Lockdown Bill Mott 30-1    
12 Miss Sky Warrior Kelly Breen 30-1    
13 Mopotism Doug O'Neill 20-1    
14 My Sweet Stella D. Wayne Lukas 50-1    
15 Nonna Bella Todd Pletcher 50-1    
16 Noted and Quoted Bob Baffert 50-1    
17 Pretty City Dancer Mark Casse 20-1    
18 Selcourt John Sadler 30-1    
19 Shane's Girlfriend Doug O'Neill 15-1    
20 Tapa Tapa Tapa Tim Hamm 30-1    
21 Tequilita Michael Matz 50-1    
22 Unique Bella Jerry Hollendorfer 8-5    
23 Valadorna Mark Casse 12-1    
24 Mutuel Field (All Others)   8-1

-- by The Paulick Report and published on HorsePlayUSA.com

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