Photo: Eclipse Sportswire - Steve Queen
Five days removed from a romping win with Tapiture in the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park, Winchell Thoroughbreds and Steve Asmussen were at it again, and this time the graded stakes victory came even easier. Ridden by Rosie Napravnik, Untapable undressed a talented field of three-year-old fillies in route to a 9 ½ length runaway victory in today’s $200,000 Rachel Alexandra Stakes as part of Lousiana Derby Preview Day at Fair Grounds.
Sitting pretty in the middle of the pack as Streaming and Army battled for the early advantage, Untapable always looked like a winner as she moved comfortably down the backstretch. Making her move on the far turn, after being given her marching orders from Rosie, she quickly moved to the leaders, and effortlessly went right on by. In what on paper looked like a competitive affair going in, this decision was complete at the head of the stretch, and Untapable continued to widen her advantage the rest of the way in front of an appreciative crowd in the Big Easy.
It was hard to notice anything but the impressive winner, unless you were looking to fill out your exotic tickets, but eventually, Got Lucky rallied late to finish second, edging out Shanon Nicole by a neck for second place money.
Let go as the fourth choice in the field of seven, Untapable returned $10.80 for the win. The bay daughter of Tapit completed the 1 1/16-mile distance over the fast main track of the Fair Grounds in 1:43.64. By means of comparison, Untapable’s final time was a fifth of a second faster than both Intense Holiday, while winning the male version of the Rachel Alexandra in the Risen Star, and the older male Bradester did in taking the Mineshaft Handicap a little later in the card. The winning rider praised her filly after the romp.
“I had lots of confidence in her,” said Napravnik. “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.”
Much the best indeed. Next for Untapable should be the last leg of the Fair Grounds’ road to the Kentucky Oaks, the Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks on March 29, where she will likely meet the impressive winner of the first leg of the series, Unbridled Forever.
Keep in mind that in the last nine editions of the Fair Grounds Oaks, five have gone on to win the Kentucky Oaks on the first Friday in May. Untapable earned 50 points towards entry into the prestigious Churchill Downs race.
Meanwhile, Ria Antonia, who was awarded first after a relentless rally in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, never really got going and struggled home in fourth, while the race favorite, Streaming backed out badly to wind up last.
In taking his second big win of the week in stride, winning trainer Steve Asmussen spoke of Untapable’s progression from two to three.
“The filly, she acted extremely well today. You know, Rosie worked her in the morning,” said Asmussen. “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.”
Better than last year for sure, and Untapable likely now sits as the early Kentucky Oaks favorite after today’s big win. She raised her lifetime record to 5-3-0-1, which includes a victory over the Churchill Downs’ main track in the Grade 2 Pocahontas Stakes. In the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, she may have been checked and eased, but it certainly appears that poor experience is now lost in Untapable’s rearview mirror. Today she was untouchable.