- Road to the Kentucky Derby
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Untapable runs down favored Stonetastic to take Pocahontas
Winchell Thoroughbreds's homebred Untapable bided her time on the inside early in Saturday evening's Grade 2, $168,150 Pocahontas at Churchill Downs before putting in a sustained drive down the stretch to just get up under jockey Rosie Napravnik for the half-victory over 8-5 favorite Stonetastic. Sent off the 5-1 third choice in the eight-filly field, she paid $13.60 to win.
The Pocahontas was the first points race on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks, making Untapable the early points leader. Additionally, she has secured a starting spot and travel allowance to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita via victory in the Pocahontas, which is part of the Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" Challenge Series.
Elena Strikes set the pace through splits of :23 3/5 and :48 2/5 with Milam pressing the entire way on the outside. Untapable proved a handful for Napravnik, tossing her head and trying to run up on the heels of Milam before finally settling down nearing the turn.
Milam took over rounding the bend but couldn't hold off Stonetastic, who wrested away control in midstretch. Untapable ate into that lead, inch by inch, on the outside to finally get up and finish 1 1/16 miles on the fast main track in 1:44 1/5.
"She was awesome," Napravnik said. "She was a little erratic down the lane, but finally got by. She did that a little bit in her first race. I started out hitting her left-handed, then when I hit pushed her right-handed she wanted to lean-in, but I couldn't stop riding her. I wanted to get the win.
"She's a very, very talented filly and it was a lot to ask of her -- second time out, she hadn't run in a couple of months, and running two turns against winners."
Rosalind came flying down the center of the track to take third, while Milam filled out the top four. Harlan's Special just missed the superfecta when a head back in fifth. Elena Strikes, Redheaded Witch and Nevada Deputy completed the order under the wire.
Untapable brought winning experience under the Twin Spires into her stakes debut, having captured her maiden debut on June 20 at Churchill by a length with Napravnik aboard. The Steve Asmussen-trained daughter of Tapit traveled to Saratoga over the summer but never started at the Spa while recording eight works.
"I think she's a very special filly," Asmussen said. "That was a huge move considering she had one sprint race. We had planned on running her once at Saratoga, but it didn't work out. She's not short on ability, but definitely a little short on experience.
"She was pretty headstrong (on the backstretch), but about halfway down the backstretch she dropped the bridle and you could tell she was going along smooth enough. But I thought once she dropped the bridle, she didn't really know where to go after that.
"When she finally got out in the stretch she really hesitated, and I think it was just not knowing to go and having to wait so much. When she got up to even terms (with Stonetastic) she kind of leveled back off a bit."
The Kentucky-bred Untapable improved her earnings to $128,125 while moving her career mark to a perfect two-for-two in the Pocahontas. The bay juvenile lass 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.