Unlimited Budget swept to the lead entering the stretch under
Rosie Napravnik and drew
off to win Saturday’s Grade III, $200,000 Rachel Alexandra Stakes by 3 ¾
lengths. Holt Racing LLS, Wesley Hawley and Robert Orth’s
Promise Me More closed from last in the field of 10 to get second, four lengths ahead of Susan Knoll’s
Blue Violet in the 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-old fillies.
Unlimited Budget earned 50 points in the “Road to the Kentucky Oaks” points standings and now sits atop that list with 60 points
The winner sat well off fast early fractions of 22.88, 46.40 and 1:12.32 set by Dancinginthecircle. Into the far turn, Napravnik
advanced five-wide and then powered past the rest of the field into the lane.
“She was much the best,” Napravnik said after her second graded stakes win of the afternoon. “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.”
Budget stopped the timer in 1:45.38 over a fast main track. Trained by
Todd Pletcher, the Florida-bred daughter of Street
Sense returned $5, $3.60 and $3 and increased her career earnings to
Promise Me More paid $11.80 and $6.40 while earning 20 points toward Kentucky Oaks qualifying.
“Second-best but coming on late,” Promise Me More’s trainer,
Wes Hawley, said. “We will
take that today. I don’t think we were going to catch that other filly
but a mile-and-one-eighth is a different story.”
The 1 1/8-mile Grade II, $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks will be run on Louisiana Derby Day, March 30. Five of the last eight winners
of that race have gone on to win the Kentucky Oaks, including last year’s winner, Believe You Can.
Blue Violet paid $6.60 and earned 10 points toward the Kentucky Oaks, while fourth-place finisher
Every Way got five points.