Devil May Care: Oaks or Derby?

As I’m sure you already read on our Web site a few days ago, there is a chance that Devil May Care could run in the Derby instead of the Oaks, depending on how her workout at Churchill goes April 24. What do you guys think about that? She has the earnings, but is this filly, who has never raced against males, ready to face a huge field full in the most prestigious race in America? I’m not so sure.

I want to hear your thoughts on the subject. Who knows…if Devil May Care does run in the Derby, she could very well make history in becoming the fourth filly to win the race. Anything can happen, right? I mean let’s face it, Mine That Bird won last year…

Anyway, I decided to call the Devil May Care’s owner, John Greathouse of Glencrest Farm to get his thoughts on the matter. One huge factor Greathouse has to consider is the fact that it will cost $2,500 to enter Devil May Care in the Oaks, versus $25,000 to enter her in the Derby. But that didn’t seem to have a huge bearing on his decision process. Here’s how our interview went:

EM: Is this something you were strongly considering with her awhile back, or when did Derby thoughts start coming into your mind with her?

JG: She was nominated (to the Derby) back in January, so obviously it’s something that’s been working on the back burner for a long time. She’s probably a better filly than what we’ve seen so far. Some of the stuff that she’s done has been pretty green, and she hasn’t raced a whole lot of times (Devil May Care has won three of five starts), but she’s shown a lot of ability in the morning, and to that end, (trainer Todd Pletcher) has said those things.

In this case, she is a filly that does have a lot of ability…a few weeks ago, I said something (to Pletcher) about the Oaks, and he said, ‘Well, I haven’t given up on the other race (the Derby).’ What we do or don’t do has no bearing on the rest of Todd’s horses. She’s got to come in there doing well and working well on her own.

You’ve got to remember, there are 13 other fillies going into the Oaks, and I don’t know whether we can beat them or not. I’m not trying to short change the Oaks…(Pletcher) has said, even if (Devil May Care) runs in the Oaks, he would consider running her back in the Belmont. That in itself should tell you that distance limitations shouldn’t really be there for her, and he does think a lot of the filly.

I don’t feel the pressure to run in either race that the next person might feel, especially if it’s a colt. Obviously, colts have just one place to go, and that’s Saturday. Those that want to participate and think their horse has a big shot, I don’t blame them. But my side of the coin is that I’m going over there trying to win a race, whether it’s Friday or Saturday, and I want to give her the best shot to be as much as she can be…whether it’s part of history being the fourth filly (to win the Derby), or if it’s not, believe me, I’d love to win Friday.

EM: Does it concern you at all that she’s never faced males before, or is that not really a concern for you guys?

JG: Todd has a lot of Derby colts. Do you think that she’s never worked with any of those horses in the morning? Even though there are 20 horses in the Derby, there’s going to be 14 in the Oaks. I think that these questions about male/female, 14 (horses) to 20, they’re really not relevant. At the end of the day, there are probably more colts that can beat you than fillies than fillies that can beat you, but that in itself is really not the answer.

If you win the race, it doesn’t make any difference how many any there could beat you. When (Eight Belles) broke down, I had people saying, ‘Well, fillies try harder against colts.’ I thought, ‘Well that’s nice. What about the filly that just won the Oaks? Did those 10 fillies behind her not try?’ Some of these statements are just so far out in left field.

(Devil May Care) has done some things with colts in the morning, and she’s more than held her own. Otherwise, Todd probably wouldn’t be considering something like this. At the end of the day, she has to answer her own questions. She’s a lovely filly that has a great way of going, and I think that anybody that’s seen her out there in the morning would be pretty impressed with her. I’m not surprised that Todd is, and it’s easy enough to impress me; I don’t get to see her that often.

EM: Have you guys talked about who might ride her if she does go to the Derby? I know John Velazquez has already committed to Eskendereya…

JG: That’s another thing…we’ve got no rider. If it’s not Johnny, it will have to be someone that will get her there on Derby Day. Who that somebody else is will sure have some determining factor on whether I’ll race Friday or Saturday. As of now, we haven’t talked about it.

Devil May Care at Churchill Downs on April 22. Photo by Anne M. Eberhardt


Leave a Comment:


There are no second chances for the Derby, either you don't run her in it and always wonder or give her a chance. Seems like she has the right credentials for the test. She has good tactical speed, high cruising ability and distance is no problem. Like you said, both races have large fields and both also have very talented participants. She's doing her part to get ready now someone needs to step up to the plate and make a decision.

22 Apr 2010 1:56 PM

She would have her hands full with Blind Luck in the Oaks as well as the 2 year old champion in the Derby.  

22 Apr 2010 2:03 PM
Carlos in Cali

If she's as talented as any of the other Pletcher horses entered,why not? I think she is and has the perfect running style to be in position to win. She'll run all day,that's for sure.

22 Apr 2010 3:50 PM
Pedigree Shelly

   Devil May Care is a very talented 3yr old filly ! There really isnt anything in her races that really "jumps out " at you ! She really belongs in the Oaks ! I dont really see her being another RA or " Rags " but you never know ? Best of luck to her !!

22 Apr 2010 4:10 PM
Hail to Reason 777

I'd run Devil May Care in the Derby.  She fits on figures.  She looks like she wants longer and is bred for it.  She actually may have a better shot in the Derby, hopefully with a reasonable post-draw.  The Oaks is very competitive and at a 1 and 1/8, more of those quality horses come into play in a major way.  The Derby will go through it's normal filtering process of 5 to 1 shots as well as 40-1 shots with about 10 maybe being legit after a mile.  Her Bonnie Miss was impressive, sitting behind horses, sitting inside horses, going between horses, strong through the wire.  She has tons of upside.  some people talk about the CAL form, winning races across the country.  The top tier horses from GP are proving to be very strong and then S-Victor throws in a surprise, a GP-based horse.  I think she's got a big shot in the Derby and it would be nice for her owners who bring us some great broodmares.  Think about her value, with a Derby first OR second on her resume.  There are some top riders that will become available.  Nice blog and good luck to her connections!

22 Apr 2010 4:19 PM
Sammi P

I'd love to see this filly in the Derby. She has the class to hold her own and end up in the money, even if she doesn't win. This is/was my Oaks filly so I'll be watching her no matter what.

22 Apr 2010 4:58 PM
mike rullo

owners would be doing the wrong thing for this filly running in the derby. lets see if she can beat blind luck before she even thinks about the boys.the owners need to do the right think for the horse not the right thing for them.

dont get caught up into derby fever.

22 Apr 2010 5:36 PM

:) I just wanted to say that I love the way Greathouse answered the gender question in regards to Eight Belles' derby and how much effort was put forth in the Oaks the day before.  

22 Apr 2010 7:36 PM

I'd love to see a Filly in the derby.. like you said: Mine That Bird won last year, so, anything is possible.

22 Apr 2010 8:58 PM
Vic S

People who think there is a big difference between colts and fillies(especially bigger fillies) don't know racing.  Fillies beat colts all the time, we just don't see it that much because of owners who fear males.  They are horses not human beings and at this stage in the game (early spring) most fillies are actually more mature and developed than colts.  In recent years fillies have a great record against the boys, so if you have a nice filly race her in the Derby it only makes sense.  She isn't my pick to win the Derby but I do hope she ends up going there.  Since we are on the subject, the other owners of these top class fillies should follow suit.  Why wouldn't you race a good HORSE in the Derby if given the chance?  This question has baffled me for years, female horses are just as capable of winning races as males so race the good fillies in the Triple Crown races, which in actuality would rid the Derby field of many of the horses that shouldn't actually be there.  If I had a filly with the earnings, she would be in the Derby in a heartbeat, I wouldn't even think Oaks.  Best of luck to Devil May Care - hope Derby.  -- Stately Victor is my Kentucky Derby pick no matter whos in the field!

22 Apr 2010 9:53 PM

I think the trainer knows her best. She works with the males all the time. She is a talented filly. I say put her where the trainer feels she belongs. If she enters the derby, she will be my pick.

22 Apr 2010 10:12 PM

I hope they dont run devil may care in the derby. it  not like there is no other race for her. to me she would look good in the oaks.

22 Apr 2010 10:50 PM

Tough call. Better chance of winning the Oaks but it sure would be exciting to see her in the Derby. Actually, I would like to see her follow Rachel's path; the KY Oaks then the Preakness.

But I am glad to see more fillies being considered for and running in the classics. They do it in Europe all the time. Just adds another element of excitement. Good for racing and the fans.

22 Apr 2010 11:07 PM

I'm not commenting on which race she should run in and it seems like her connections are giving it careful thought and taking everything into consideration on what's best for her. The only thing I want to comment on is those who say she shouldn't run in the Derby because she hasn't faced colts before. Rachel A. ran against males for the first time in the Preakness. Is there any doubt that she would have won the Derby if she had been entered there instead of the Oaks? I don't think that's a good argument against the Derby. For one thing, as a 2-yr. old she wouldn't have run against colts because it's a growing and maturing process to see how good she really is. Many colts are now running only two or three times as a 3-yr. old so it's not like they have so much more experience. Whichever race she runs in, I hope that is one argument that is not used to say she shouldn't run in the Derby.

22 Apr 2010 11:28 PM

WHY!woould the opinion of 1,000 guys who never trained a grasshopper have any bearing on which race the connections choose? we have a big enough task picking a winner. arthur on dauphin island.

23 Apr 2010 8:50 AM
Maurice Miller

Johnny has thought highly of Devil May Care from the early stages, as demonstrated when he elected not to take a nice profit on her at F-T Calder. His ultimate decision will be in her best interest. Hope for the best on Fri. or Sat.

23 Apr 2010 9:04 AM

Apparently she's been working along side of the colts and outdoing them. She's qualified, but I'm not sure I want to see her in the Stampede known as the Derby.  She's certainly more capable than the bottom 5, but I'd like to see some horses on the bubble get in.

23 Apr 2010 9:23 AM
Richard Murray

If Todd runs eight he only has to beat 12 others.  He will knock out another horse with her addition to the derby.  Is he more concerned about the filly or his personal derby chances?

23 Apr 2010 9:50 AM
Fran Loszynski

I don't think she is a "Rachel A." or a Zenyatta. She really doesn't look like she could hold onto the stamina she would need to beat the boys. Another question would be if she has the heart to compete against the colts. Remember she could think that they are pursuing her instead of competing with her. Does she have the intelligence to understand that? And of course if they beat her down, she could injure herself too. I personally feel a fillie has to be really special to run against the boys.

23 Apr 2010 10:29 AM
Double H

As a fan of our sport and a horse player, I respect the trainers opinion of the horses he or she trains. There are those who criticize Mr. Pletcher. I do not. His accomplishments speak for his abilities. If he thinks she should run in the Derby, then, she does belong. Just maybe, we could have another Zenyatta or Rachael.

23 Apr 2010 10:56 AM

I don't think a filly always has to humiliate her sisters ala, Rachel A., Zenny, etc. to be considered for a run with the boys. Serena's song didn't. But I do think this filly is very immature/inconsistent  and it might be wiser to go for a Rachel run i.e. Filly Classic, Male Classic, Filly Classic. I just don't think she's all there yet and it might be wiser to wait until she grows up a little.

23 Apr 2010 3:19 PM

hey these guys are some of the best in the industry..they know what they're doing...go for it guys and have a blast friday or saturday...the best of racing luck to you!!!!

23 Apr 2010 7:45 PM
Deborah L.

Oh my! after seeing the picture of this filly and the muscled frame, why not?  Could make things even more interesting for the wagers.

23 Apr 2010 7:48 PM

I would love to see Devil May Care run in the Derby, she is a very special filly and I think she deserves a chance to prove herself. I wonder who they will pick to ride her if they do run her in the Derby. Only tomorrow will tell.

23 Apr 2010 8:13 PM
Forbidden Apple

Devil May Care should stick with the Oaks and compete against 3 year old fillies. She is far from a sure thing even in the Oaks. Has Pletcher forgotten how good Crisp and Blind Luck are? Not to mention the other fillies that I am unaware of. After this year something needs to be done about the entire process of being eligible for the KY Derby. If Pletcher enters more than 5 horses in the Derby it would be bad for horse racing. With 5 he would have 25% of the field in America's greatest race. Maybe he should shoot for entering 10 horses and then he might win it. I have nothing against his filly, his # of entrants in the Derby is what has me outraged. But since he is only following the rules that are in place he should continue stacking the field.

23 Apr 2010 9:37 PM

I read the interview and was concerned that the trainer did not think she had a chance to win the Oaks but she did in the Derby.  I have seen many races where the fillies have a better time on races of the same distance as the males--AND WONDERED WHY THEY HAD A LOWER PURSE.

24 Apr 2010 3:07 AM

She trains well? I'm sure you can put together a list of 100 fillies that train well in company with colts.

She can't win, so what do you shoot for? Her best chance at second place is in the Oaks behind Blind Luck.

Blind Luck is the only filly with a legitimate shot in the Derby, and they choose to run in the Oaks.

I like Richard Murray's comment. Is it more about Todd eliminating competition or the filly?

24 Apr 2010 11:34 AM

I feel like the wrong filly is being considered for the Derby.Blind Luck would be much better suited to the race than Devil May Care..and as for her being better than her workmates,most of them(Eskenderaya the exception) will turn out to be Grade II Stakes horses at best...I really hope they run her in the Oaks for her sake.And I doubt that Devil May Care is another Zenyatta or horse can compare to those 2

24 Apr 2010 1:40 PM

It looks as though this filly is VERY talented. She was so impressive in Florida and was still acting green. There's no telling HOW GOOD she is. I am sure that she has worked alongside some of the good Pletcher colts, so he has a guage on her, that we are not privy to. But still, if I owned her,I would go to the Oaks, simply because I don't like 20 horse fields. Many times the best horse doesn't win the Derby because of the traffic and the trip. So because of that I would run her in the Oaks and be thrilled to see her win,with no regrets about the Derby.

24 Apr 2010 1:45 PM

I think she belongs in the Derby more than the horse she knocks out - Homeboykris.  

24 Apr 2010 4:03 PM

There is no guarantee that she or any other filly will win the Oaks or the Derby, or that any of the favored colts will win the Derby - it's all up to Lady Luck and who she favors in either race.  However, which ever race she runs in she needs to be properly prepared, sound and most importantly the right jockey who is in tune and bonded with her.  Did you see that picture of her attending Steve Haskin's article?  If you studied it you would see a very sly, foxy, intelligent filly saying 'try to catch me if you can'.  Her pedigree is as Blue as they come - AP Indy, Red Ranson, backed up by Seattle Slew, Secretariat, Roberto, etc.  She is every bit as able as RA, Zenyatta, Eight Belles and Rags.  Does she have the stamina, distance and speed through her pedigree - yes!  Will she like the slop, as rain is forecast for Derby day.

The question is does she have the heart and that question is asked of everyone in the Derby.  We will just have to watch and see what the outcome is.  Personally, I don't care who wins - they are all exceptional - I just want everyone to come home safe and sound!  May the Force be with her and the others.

24 Apr 2010 6:13 PM
mike rullo

pletcher thinks this is his 2nd best chance to win the derby,I think eskendereya is injured or ran down badly. pletcher should come clean with the public.devil should go into the oaks, hopefully he does right by the filly.

24 Apr 2010 8:10 PM

Wouldn't it be funny if she ran in the derby and won?  Then Pletcher's first triple crown race win (Rags) and first Derby win would be from fillies

24 Apr 2010 8:12 PM

I think she should go for the Derby. As another comment had it before, Let her take the experience. If they think she can do it, don't hesitate.

24 Apr 2010 8:13 PM

Let the Trainer and Owner decide.

"Eight in the Gate" may become reality for Pletcher.

24 Apr 2010 8:30 PM
So Cal Racer

fillly on Derby day why not, DMC is good horse a repeat of Rag to Richest story maybe or not..No pilot? on Ky Derby J.V to pilot Esken.. good Jock Johny, but there one jocky that get kick out after winning a prep race...hello.. how about JC give the mount to John Court he deserve a shot. he's good jock given the chance..Mr.Pletcher there's your jocky for the Derby if choose to run in.. as for the Oaks well thats another story.. if in the Oaks will be in the mix, winning well iffy...

24 Apr 2010 8:59 PM
RacingFan 2006

All I have to say is that it's the Kentucky Derby, anybody who enters has a chance to win no matter what the odds are or what races they've won.  Perfect example with Mine that Bird last year.  I'd say enter her because she looks like an awesome fillie and could really shake up the derby field.

25 Apr 2010 1:15 AM
Slew question...if the Devil thinks the boys are pursuing her, doesn't that mean she's at the front?  I think she's better than Homeboykris, is seasoned, and has a chance to be in the $$.  But we are talking about a "slew" of colts moving immediately to the front...I don't think she can get ahead of Conveyance or the other top 10 contenders. She's already proven she has more stamina than Amen, but more stamina than the monsters?..I don't think so.

25 Apr 2010 7:30 AM

Now she will run in the Derby and won't hit the will any of TP's horses. He will be o for everything anter Saturday.

It also looks like RA is continuing to run her schedule leading to avoiding Z and anybody else really good. She might get a 2nd kick in the butt next Friday however... enough of her until she steps it up please.

25 Apr 2010 10:47 AM
Pam S.

Well, it looks like DMC will be in the Derby now.  (Run DMC!)  She is a beautiful filly with come-hither eyes, which makes me think that maybe Todd's latest plan of attack is to take the colts' minds off their game!  That said, I would rather see Devil in the Oaks, which I think has one of the best fields in years.  

25 Apr 2010 11:37 AM
Pam S.

Well, it looks like DMC will be in the Derby now.  (Run DMC!)  She is a beautiful filly with come-hither eyes, which makes me think that maybe Todd's latest plan of attack is to take the colts' minds off their game!  That said, I would rather see Devil in the Oaks, which I think has one of the best fields in years.  

25 Apr 2010 11:37 AM
Matthew W

Sounds like it's the Derby for the filly! If that's so, I'll be trying to beat her...

25 Apr 2010 12:56 PM
Max E

Rachel A was impressive against fillies  before she went to the preakness.I am not even sure that she is the best 3yr old filly in the country. There are a lot of horses going to the derby becaue of the ego of their connections. Go to the oaks and if she is impressive you can think about running against the colts

25 Apr 2010 2:41 PM
Feathered Serpent

Matthew W---  Good luck with that,she's a genuine threat to take the Derby. I'd advise you use her in your tickets. She's better than your Caracortada that's for sure.

25 Apr 2010 3:11 PM
So Cal Racer

well..DMC is in the KyDerby. defection of Escen..leave JV to pilot DMC, goodluck..get in the mix.. as for winning not likely perhaps a slim chance of winning thats all.. lookin at lucky might just smile at DMC.. a feel for a long shot to win it muddy? jocky Borrel to win..not likely but he is a sneaky jocky so he will be in the mix.. DMC fan bet lightly.. she will be good on future races but this could prove to tough for her..

25 Apr 2010 3:18 PM
mike rullo

It's just doesnt feel right,bad karma putting this filly in the derby, pletcher lost his chance this year. he has a good filly why put this inexperienced filly in this race and put blinkers on first time out in the kentucky derby. very bad move,keep your filly sound and run in the oaks.

25 Apr 2010 6:56 PM
Ash from the Peg

I think that it would be great if this filly ran in the race. I don't think a decision has been reached yet. I'm rooting for this filly and I refuse to put down any other horse for the simple fact is that on the day of the race anything can happen, look what happened last year. Either way I'll be watching both races.

As for fillies taking on the colts I think NA needs to wake up and look at how the Europeans do it, they don't place limitations on their fillies going head to head against the males and if we started to do this more we might eventually have a female Triple Crown winner.....who knows....should be interesting to keep watch on the future of horse racing.

25 Apr 2010 9:59 PM

She doesn't have a lot of experience (then again, not many of these colts do, as racing schedules are light now) and she doesn't seem to have made much of an impact until very recently. I just don't think she is "Derby quality" against the very strong runners who could hold her off. I'd love to see it, but I think  she should go to the Oaks, then the Belmont.

26 Apr 2010 12:51 AM

I don`t like the fact DMC will more than likely be cross entered and cause someone to get shut out of either the Oaks or the Derby.  If I had to choose a filly as a derby winner it would most likely be Blind Luck not her.

26 Apr 2010 5:17 AM

Devil may care is just taking up a spot for a more deserving colt.

pletcher is scared of Blind Luck thats all

26 Apr 2010 12:57 PM

I went back and watched the Bonnie Miss. She had the best post and had a beautiful trip. She wins for fun. I just don't feel she is professional enough for the derby. Her ears prick she looks around alot and I think it's going to hurt her chances. Her position in the derby could hurt a few colts who get distracted by her with dreams of the breeding shed. Either way, she's a big difference maker.

26 Apr 2010 7:22 PM
Melinda Christmas

Devil May Care is a beauty and a filly.  Let her show she can win.

27 Apr 2010 4:36 AM

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