Racing News

Untapable dominates Rachel Alexandra

  • Untapable (Lou Hodges Jr./Hodges Photography)

Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC's Untapable threw in a subpar eighth two starts back in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, then finished a one-paced third in the Hollywood Starlet over Hollywood Park's Cushion Track on December 7.

Thanks to those two efforts, the Tapit filly was let go as the 4-1 fourth choice in Saturday's Grade 3, $196,000 Rachel Alexandra at Fair Grounds but unleashed a devastating run to be 9 1/2 lengths clear on the wire of the 1 1/16-mile contest.

Untapable is unlikely to get away with those odds in her next planned start, the Grade 2, $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks on March 29, where she could add to the 50 points she earned Saturday for a starting berth in the May 2 Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs. Five of the last nine Fair Grounds Oaks winners have gone on to win the Kentucky Oaks.

Hollywood Starlet victress and 3-2 favorite Streaming led the way once the gates opened, setting an opening split of :24 and the three-quarter mark of 1:12 3/5 while dueling all the time with maiden winner Army, who was credited with the half-mile fraction of :47 4/5. Jockey Rosie Napravnik allowed Untapable to sit just outside of Express Model, who was trailing the top two in third and had Shanon Nicole dogging her hoofs on the inside.

As Streaming and Army continued battling entering the turn, Express Model and Untapable moved up to run in tandem. Untapable was forced to go four wide around the bend, but easily took command in the lane and immediately began pulling away. The bay miss was much the best and ended up stopping the clock in 1:43 3/5 to return $10.80 to her faithful backers.

"The filly, she acted extremely well today," trainer Steve Asmussen praised. "You know, Rosie worked her in the morning. We think she is better than she was last year and I think she showed that today. There were two Grade 1 winners in that race and we had a lot of respect for the field."

"I had lots of confidence in her," Napravnik added. "Steve has done an excellent job with her, and I'm thankful they put me back on her. It was a wide trip which just goes to show you how much the best she was."

Got Lucky got up to take second by a neck over former grass runner Shanon Nicole, who was making just her second dirt start after capturing an off-the-turf Fair Grounds contest by 4 1/2 lengths on January 10.

"I wish I would have broke a little better," lamented Got Lucky's rider, Mike Smith. "There was no making it up without going way wide or making an early move, and I wasn't trying to do either. Good finish, though."

Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Ria Antonia followed by another 4 1/2 lengths while Express Model, Army and Streaming completed the order under the wire.

"Perfect trip. I followed the winner the whole way, and she just got a bit tired," stated Joe Talamo, who shipped in from California to ride Ria Antonia in his home state of Louisiana.

Untapable now boasts 60 total points on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks, having captured the 1 1/16-mile Pocahontas under the Twin Spires in her second career start last September. That followed a one-length debut maiden win at Churchill in late June, and the Kentucky homebred finished out her juvenile season in the Breeders' Cup and Holywood Starlet.

Getting her sophomore campaign off to a stellar start in this spot, Untapable has now banked $308,125 to go along with her 5-3-0-1 career mark.

Untapable is out of the Grade 2-winning Prized mare Fun House, making her a half-sister to Grade 1 turf hero Paddy O'Prado. Fun House is herself a half-sister to Grade 2-scoring sire Early Flyer, and that duo's dam counts as half-siblings Grade 1-winning stallion Olympio and Grade 2 victress Call Now.

Other close relatives from Untapable's female line include Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile king Tapizar; Grade 1 stars Pyro and Cuvee; and Grade 2 scorers Wild Wonder, Will He Shine and Bien Nicole.