Undefeated Princess Arabella, decisive winner of the Sunland Park Oaks, will not advance to the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) at Churchill Downs. The daughter of Any Given Saturday will instead be retired due to an inflamed tendon, according to trainer Bob Baffert.
Owned by John Fort’s Peachtree Stable, Princess Arabella has won three times in as many starts. She broke her maiden by 3 1/2 lengths at Santa Anita Park in December, followed by 3 1/2-length allowance win at the California track Feb. 12. The chestnut filly rolled to an impressive eight-length victory in the Sunland Park Oaks, which was her most recent start.
“She has a small, soft tissue injury that was going to need six to seven months off, and with a filly of that value, you don’t want to take the risk (of putting her back in training),” Baffert said during an interview on HRTV April 19. “It’s a shame because she was such a brilliant filly, and it’s a big blow to the Baffert barn because it’s a freaky thing when you get a horse like that.”
Fort was also quick to sing Princess Arabella’s praises.
“I’ve been horse racing for 35 years and I’ve never been around a horse that was so explosively brilliant as Princess Arabella,” said Fort, who also owns last year’s Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winner Plum Pretty.
“When the word would get out at Santa Anita that (Princess Arabella) was going out for a gallop, 100 people would be standing around watching,” Fort said. “She just exploded around the track, and when she worked, it was like, ‘Oh my God, Martin (Garcia), don’t let her go too fast.’ She’s 16’2, she has speed from the gate, the finish, wherever you ask her for it. She’s just a big, gorgeous, rangy filly.
“It’s sad for me and the Thoroughbred industry that when we finally get it completely right, there’s this mystifying injury that rears its ugly head. I just hope she has a lot of beautiful babies.”
Bred by Greenwich Cattle Company, Princess Arabella is out of the Thunder Gulch mare Tortuga Lady. She retires with earnings of $188,400.
The filly is boarded at the Taylor family’s Taylor Made Stallions near Nicholasville, Ky. Fort said he has a season to Tapit and will breed Princess Arabella this year if possible.