The Kentucky Oaks (Hardback)
150 Years of Running for the Lilies
No Thoroughbred race in the state of Kentucky holds a more hallowed place in the national and international consciousness than the Kentucky Derby. Its fame is richly deserved, yet there are other equally important and historic races whose significance deserves a larger share of the spotlight—none more so than the Derby's sister race, the Kentucky Oaks. Inaugurated on May 19, 1875—just two days after the first Kentucky Derby—and run annually at Churchill Downs since then, the Kentucky Oaks is America's most prestigious race for three-year-old fillies and the second-oldest continuously run horse race in North America. Always cherished by horsemen as a test for the future mothers of the Thoroughbred, the Oaks has in recent years become a major charity and fashion gala in addition to its significance as a sporting event. Yet, although multiple books have been published about the Kentucky Derby, popular and academic historians alike have largely overlooked the Oaks.
In The Kentucky Oaks: 150 Years of Running for the Lilies, author Avalyn Hunter sets out to recover the history of one of the most watched and highly attended events in Thoroughbred racing. Beginning with Meriweather Lewis Clark Jr.'s creation of a race designed to parallel England's historic Oaks Stakes, Hunter traces the evolution of the Kentucky Oaks through the stories of the men, women, and fillies that have made the Kentucky Oaks a symbol for women's growing participation in the sport at all levels.