Sara Louise, the last horse to defeat superstar filly Rachel Alexandra, returned from a nine-month layoff in sparkling fashion, coming from off the pace to score the $110,000 Victory Ride (gr. III) (VIDEO) Aug. 29 at Saratoga.
The last time Sara Louise was seen on the track was in November at Churchill Downs when finishing runner-up to Rachel Alexandra in the Golden Rod (gr. II) at Churchill Downs. But four weeks prior to that, she defeated Rachel Alexandra by 3 3/4 lengths over the same strip in the Pocahontas (gr. III). It was the last time Rachel Alexandra lost a race.
In the Victory Ride, a six-furlong sprint for 3-year-old fillies, Sara Louise rated off the pace under Edgar Prado. The daughter of Malibu Moon raced mid-pack through the backstretch while Bold Union and Juliet's Spirit slugged it out through quick fractions of :21.95 and :44.81. Bold Union, with John Velazquez aboard, turned for home in front and forged ahead by a half-length at the eighth-pole.
But Sara Louise was just beginning to find her best stride with a four-wide charge at the top of the lane and with steady urging from Prado, ran down Bold Union inside the sixteenth-pole. The bay filly hit the wire two lengths in front in a final time of 1:09.66 on a "sloppy" track.
Bold Union did well to stay on for second, a half-length in front of Juliet’s Spirit. Sky Haven was fourth in a field of nine.
“It was a beautiful trip," Prado said. "I was waiting and waiting, and at the top of the stretch, when I finally let her loose she had a nice kick in her. It was a good pace. I was kind of expecting that. I was biding my time and waiting to cut her loose. I knew even with that fast pace she could kick it in and finish strong.”
Sara Louise won two of four starts as a juvenile while owned by Eldon Farm and trained by Dale Romans. After the Golden Rod she was sold to Godolphin and shipped to Dubai to train under Saeed bin Suroor. She returned to the states earlier this summer and has been working steadily in New York.
“When she was in Dubai, she had tiny problems," Suroor said. "She had tendon problems in both of her front legs. We gave her time. The filly was doing really well. She was working well. She has tactical speed.
"I talked to Edgar and he said she can go a mile. The filly has class. She needed the race and she'll improve from this race. We'll have to wait on (the possibility of another meeting with Rachel Alexandra). She's in a different class now. Our filly beat her before. We'll have to wait until the right time (to try again).”
Bred in Kentucky by Paul Gardner, Sara Louise is out of the Mt. Livermore mare Kings Lynn. She is now 3-1-0 from five starts with earnings of $199,635.
Sent off as the favorite, the winner paid $6.30, $3.70, and $3.30. The exacta (8-1) returned $25.80 and the trifecta (8-1-5) was $271.50.
Trix in the City was fifth, followed by All of Her Twist, Step Out Smartly, Selva, and Reforestation.