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Kentucky Oaks 135 Update - Rachel Alexandra Cruises, Hooh Why Upsets Champion Stardom Bound in Ashland
L & M Racing's Rachel Alexandra may have earned the role of favorite in the 135th Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) on May 1 at Churchill Downjs when she romped to an effortless 8 ½-length romp in the $250,000 Fantasy Stakes (GII) at Oaklawn Park.
The Hal Wiggins-trained daughter of Medaglia d'Oro, the 1-9 favorite in a field of five 3-year-old fillies, never had an anxious moment as she galloped to victory under jockey Calvin Borel. She covered the 1 1/16-mile distance in 1:43.36. It was the fourth consecutive victory for Rachel Alexandra, a streak that began with a victory in the Golden Rod (GII) at Churchill Downs last fall.
"I really don't know how good she is," Borel said. "She's never been pressured yet, and if she stays like she is, I don't know if she'll ever be pressured. She's unbelievable."
Wiggins said Rachel Alexandra would ship to Churchill Downs on Wednesday to continue her preparation for the Kentucky Oaks.
Afleet Deceit finished second in the Fantasy, three lengths in front of Just Jenda.
Rachel Alexandra was such a heavy favorite that Oaklawn Park did not allow show wagering in the Fantasy, but still had to pay out a minus win pool of $3,382 and a minus place pool of $227,722.
MIDWEST/HOOH WHY KNOCKS OFF STARDOM BOUND IN ASHLAND - Longshot Hooh Why jumped to the lead at the start and never surrendered that position on her way to a 24-1 upset victory in Saturday's $400,000 Ashland Stakes (GI) at Keeneland.
Runner-up Gozzip Girl was flying at the finish, but fell a neck shy of catching the winner, while reigning juvenile filly champion Stardom Bound finished third under regular jockey Mike Smith. The loss by Stardom Bound snapped a string of five consecutive victories in Grade I races by the champion.
"I'm at a loss for words, really. It certainly wasn't her 'A' game," said Smith, "She got away slow, but she always does. Actually it (the pace) was good for her. They were going slow, but she's closed on a slow pace before."
Jockey Corey Lanerie picked up the mount on Hooh Why when jockey Rene Douglas took off his mounts at Keeneland earlier in the day. The move resulted in Lanerie's first Grade I win. The winner covered 1 1/16 miles over the synthetic Polytrack surface in 1:43.80 for trainer Donna Dupuy.
Hooh Why went off at long odds despite near-miss against Stardom Bound in her previous race in the Santa Anita Oaks, where she finished third, just a head back of the champion.
Evita Argentina, a winner over males in the San Vicente (GII) at Santa Anita last time out, heads a field of seven 3-year-old fillies in Wednesday's $150,000 Beaumont (GII) at Keeneland.
The John Sadler-trained fllly will break from the rail post under Garrett Gomez in the Beaumont, which is run at the Beard Course distance of seven furlongs, 184 feet. Multiple stakes winner Selva appears to be Evita Argentina's main rival in the Beaumont.
EAST/LARAGH PREPS FOR COMELY - Hollywood Starlet (GI) winner Laragh prepped for an expected start in Saturday's Comely (GII) at Aqueduct with a five-furlong work on Sunday at Belmont Park.
The John Terranova II trainee covered the distance in 1:00.20 over a "fast" track in preparation for her first start of the year. The gray filly is being pointed toward the Kentucky Oaks.