- Road to the Kentucky Derby
- Racing & Wagering
- Derby Experience
- Plan Your Visit
Unlimited Budget remains perfect in Rachel Alexandra
Repole Stable's Unlimited Budget moved her record to an unbeaten three-for-three on Saturday when capturing the Grade 3, $200,000 Rachel Alexandra at Fair Grounds by 3 3/4 lengths. Jockey Rosie Napravnik guided the Todd Pletcher trainee through the 1 1/16-mile contest in 1:45 1/5 on the fast main track, and Unlimited Budget paid $5, $3.60 and $3 as the 3-2 favorite in the 10-strong field.
Dancinginthecircle made her three-year-old bow a front-running, nine-length score in the By the Light at Delta Downs in early January, and attempted to emulate that performance in the Rachel Alexandra. The Larry Jones pupil set the pace through quick splits of :22 4/5, :46 2/5 and 1:12 1/5 while tracked by Daddy's Song, Neith and Finding More. Unlimited Budget, meanwhile, was biding her time in a stalking fifth.
Nearing the turn, both Daddy's Song and Neith began backing up while Finding More took aim on Dancinginthecircle. Unlimited Budget began her rally as well, and found herself strung wide rounding the turn to the outside of those latter two.
The bay daughter of Street Sense merely asserted her class in the lane to draw clear, boosting her scorecard to a perfect three-for-three while bumping her career earnings to $310,200.
"She was much the best. It ended up being a crazy pace up front so we were a little further back but it set up well for her and she just galloped away with it," Napravnik stated.
"She's been a filly that's shown that she could do pretty much whatever she needs to," assistant trainer Whit Beckman agreed. "Preferred the race to be on the lead but with that hot pace in front of her it set up well and showed some versatility, so we were
Promise Me More followed in second after running in last down the backstretch, and it was another four lengths back to Blue Violet in third. Every Way rounded out the top four while Dancinginthecircle, Finding More, Midnight Ballet, Neith, Alluring Lady and Daddy's Song completed the order of finish.
"Second best but coming on late. We will take that today," said Wes Hawley, who conditions Promise Me More. "I don't think we were going to catch that other filly but a mile-and-one-eighth (in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks) is a different story."
Hawley indicated Keeneland's Grade 1 Ashland on April 6 and the Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks on March 30 are both under consideration for Promise Me More's next start.
"This filly's getting better," remarked Larry Jones, trainer of third-placer Blue Violet. "I had her mother (Gasia) and I'm seeing a very similar pattern but this filly is getting better faster than her mother did and her mother was a Grade 2 horse. Every race is a continued improvement, and no race is getting a huge improvement which makes you think there isn't going to be a bounce factor.
"She was very rank. She hadn't run since early January," Jones added about Dancinginthecircle. "You worry looking at her pedigree whether she'd get the mile-and-a-sixteenth. She's very fast. Probably we'll keep her at shorter distances."
Unlimited Budget was making her first trip outside of New York in the Rachel Alexandra, having captured her initial two starts at Aqueduct last November. The sophomore lass broke her maiden debut by 9 1/2 lengths on November 9, then returned 15 days later to add a 1 1/4-length triumph in the Grade 2 Demoiselle to her resume.
Bred in Florida by Ocala Stud, Unlimited Budget was purchased by her current connections for $475,000 as an OBS March Sale selected two-year-old. She is out of the stakes-placed Valid Appeal mare Unlimited Pleasure, who is a half-sister to Grade 1 hero Outofthebox and stakes victor Ruff and Ready, as well as the dam of dual Grade 2 winner Tackleberry and last year's Grade 2 Sanford third Onetwentyeight.
Unlimited Budget is herself a half-sister to Grade 3 scorer Beacon Shine and Grade 3 diva Jardin. This family has also produced two-time Grade 1 winner and sire Mighty Appealing.