Eldon Farm’s Sara Louise sparkled in her stakes debut Nov. 1, as the daughter of Malibu Moon came from off the pace and blew away six juvenile fillies to win the $110,400 Pocahontas Stakes (gr. III) (VIDEO) by 3 3/4 lengths at Churchill Downs on "Stars of Tomorrow" day.
Breaking from the rail under Robby Albarado, Sara Louise was next to last after six furlongs as the leaders burned aggressive opening fractions. The bay filly began to get revved up while exiting the turn and easily took charge at the eighth-pole after launching a bold four-wide move. She drew clear and never looked back. The final time for one mile on the main track was an impressive 1:34.57, three-fifths of a second faster than 2-year-old gelding Capt. Candyman Can ran when winning the Iroquois (gr. III) one race later against the boys.
Rachel Alexandra settled for runner-up, 2 3/4 lengths ahead of Selective. Pretty Prolific was fourth.
Sara Louise, bred in Kentucky by Paul Gardner and out of the Mt. Livermore mare Kings Lynn, was making her third career start. She broke her maiden at second asking last out at Belmont Sept. 21, taking the seven-furlong event by three parts of a length under Edgar Prado. She is trained by Dale Romans.
“She’s a very nice filly,” Albarado said. “She’s sort of like a grass horse because when she sees daylight she just takes off. Dale has done a great with her. I got on her a few times before she ran at Saratoga and we thought she was special then. She got into a bunch of trouble the first time out and should probably be undefeated right now. She’s catching up.”
Petty Things was the quickest out of the gate from post seven and posted an opening quarter of :23.29 under Larry Melancon. She was soon joined from the inside by Pretty Prolific and those two dueled through a brisk half-mile in :46.63. Rachel Alexandra, Honchis’n Ponchis and Selective were also in contention.
Sara Louise, reserved near the inside through the backstretch, angled out for her winning move while approaching the far turn.
“She’s probably as good a filly as I’ve ever had and maybe as good as some of the best horses,” said Romans.
Sara Louise, a $550,000 Fasig-Tipton Florida select 2-year-olds in training sale purchase, paid $9.80, $4 and $3 while going off as the third choice. The exacta (1-4) with favored Rachel Alexandra returned $39.20, while the trifecta (1-4-8) was worth $142.80.