Untapable Unstoppable in Fair Grounds Oaks
by Jack Shinar
Date Posted: 3/29/2014 5:49:02 PM
Last Updated: 3/30/2014 5:48:57 PM
Untapable rolls home to take the Fair Grounds Oaks.
Hodges Photography / Paige Marcinek
Untapable will head to the Longines Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) as the likely favorite after another decisive victory in the $384,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II) March 29 at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots (VIDEO).
Winchell Thoroughbreds' homebred daughter of Tapit took command at the head of the stretch and left her four 3-year-old filly rivals far behind on her way to a 7 3/4-length win in the 1 1/16-mile Fair Grounds Oaks. She'll prove a formidable obstacle at Churchill Downs for the May 2 Kentucky Oaks after sewing up a starting berth with her impressive victory.
Rated beautifully by Rosie Napravnik in second just off pacesetter Fiftyshadesofgold to her inside, Untapable came home as much the best in a solid time of 1:43.09 over a drying out main track that was rated fast.
Recent history is on Untapable's side. Five of the past nine winners of the Fair Grounds Oaks have gone on to victory at Churchill in the Kentucky Oaks.
Fiftyshadesofgold, ridden by Mike Smith, was a clear second after carving quarter mile splits of :24.29, :48.27, and 1:12.83. The strapping filly led coming out of the final turn but was no match for the winner through the lane. Second choice Unbridled Forever and Robby Albardo made a brief rally before settling for third. Mary Rita and Artist Cry followed in the small field.
Untapable is 2-for-2 in 2014 for beleaguered trainer Steve Asmussen after beginning the year with a 9 1/2-length romp in the Rachel Alexandra Stakes (gr. III) at Fair Grounds Feb. 22 while recording a 100 Beyer figure.
The victory had to feel good to Asmussen. He has been subjected to much criticism in the recent days due to a report in the New York Times based on an undercover investigation by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals alleging his stable has mistreated horses. Asmussen's nomination as a finalist to the National Racing Hall of Fame was tabled as a result of the fall-out.
"She just has ability," Asmussen said of Untapable. "She has grown up a lot, and she has great composure...and she's fast. I like how she was handled by Rosie, how she relaxed, and she ran big, especially off such a fast effort in the Rachel Alexandra."
Untapable, now with four wins from six starts and earnings of $548,125, is a half sister to grade I winner and $1.7 million earner Paddy O'Prado . The bay filly is out of the grade II winner Fun House, by Prized.
"Steve's only instructions were to keep it smooth, so I let her go easily, and she relaxed for me, and I just got her used to being asked to go at the top of the stretch," Napravnik said. "Very excited about her."
The only graded stakes winner in the field, Untapable paid $3, $2.20, and $2.10 under equal weights of 121 pounds. Fiftyshadesofgold returned $3.20 and $2.10, completing a $7.20 exacta. Unbridled Forever paid $2.10 to show.
"She was just a little tired today," trainer Dallas Stewart said of Unbridled Forever, a convincing winner of the Silverbulletday Stakes Jan. 18 at Fair Grounds. "It was a nice try, she was just outrun by a nice horse. We'll come back in five weeks (in the Kentucky Oaks) and try her again."
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