(Nov. 1, 2008) – Sara Louise, ridden by Robby Albarado, recorded an emphatic 3 ¾-length victory over 2-1 favorite Rachel Alexandra in Saturday’s 40th running of the $110,400 Pocahontas Stakes (Grade III) at Churchill Downs, and her final time of 1:34.57 for one mile was nearly three-fifths of a second faster than Capt. Candyman Can’s clocking in the Iroquois Stakes (GIII) one race later.
“She’s probably as good a filly as I’ve ever had and maybe as good as some of the best horses,” said winning trainer Dale Romans.
Owned by John K. Luke’s Eldon Farm Equine of Atlanta, Sara Louise improved her record to two wins in three starts with a successful debut against stakes company. The $67,081 winner’s share of the purse pushed her career earnings to $101,381.
The 2-year-old daughter of Malibu Moon settled behind the early leaders before she launched a winning bid around the final turn in the one-turn mile race. Sara Louise reeled in the leaders and quickly drew clear of favored Rachel Alexander, who finished second, 2 ¾ lengths ahead of third-place finisher Selective.
“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.”
Sara Louise, a Kentucky-bred, paid $9.80, $4 and $3. Rachel Alexandra returned $3.60 and $3. Selective paid $3.80. Pretty Prolific, Abbott Hall, Honchis’n Ponchis and Petty Things completed the order of finish.
A start in the $150,000-added Golden Rod Stakes (GII) over 1 1/16 miles on Nov. 29 hasn’t been ruled out, according to Romans.
“We’ll talk about with Mr. Luke and with Bill Graves to see if that makes sense or just put her up for the rest of the year and get her ready for Gulfstream,” said Romans, who won three races on the afternoon.
POST-RACE QUOTES – THE POCAHONTAS
ROBBY ALBARADO, jockey for SARA LOUISE (winner): “She’s a very nice filly. She’s sort of like a grass horse because when she sees daylight she just takes off. A real nice filly. Dale [Romans] 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.”
DALE ROMANS, trainer for SARA LOUISE (winner): “She’s probably as good a filly as I’ve ever had and maybe as good as some of the best horses. We’ll leave the big two [Roses in May and Kitten’s Joy] out. The way she’s trained over this track has been unbelievable. I mean, she’s a serious filly. She’s trained like it every since we had her. The last race was pretty impressive and she’s just trained better and better since she’s been here.”
Q: On three wins today:
“It’s a nice day, a good day to win because you’ve got tomorrow’s champions. The future . . . it gives you something to hope for.”
Q: How do you explain her low Beyer Speed Figures?
“I don’t know because her Ragozin numbers have been very impressive but her Beyer Speed Figures weren’t that good. But her Ragozin numbers were as good as anybody running.”
Q: Will she run back in the Golden Rod?
“I don’t know. We’ll talk about with Mr. [John] Luke [of Eldon Farm Equine] and with Bill Graves to see if that makes sense or just put her up for the rest of the year and get her ready for Gulfstream.
HAL WIGGINS, trainer of RACHEL ALEXANDRA (runner-up)
“We’ve had easier journeys, but it opened up finally and that other (Sara Louise) just outrun us to the wire. So congratulations to them. It looked like she came out of the race all right. She wasn’t scarred up or anything, so we’ll live to fight another day.”
Q: Do you think you will go on to the Golden Rod with her?
“We don’t know. The Golden Rod is going to be a little tougher race than this one, I think. One or two of those Breeders’ Cup fillies might show up – that (Ken McPeek) filly (Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies runner-up Dream Empress) might. But we’ll see. We’ll see how she comes back. You know running second is better than third or fourth. We’ll see how she came back, but Brian said she pulled up fine.”
Q: Two turns might be her game…
“I think she’ll stretch out. We’ll just play it by ear and see how she goes back to training and make that decision a little later. I’ll get with Mr. Morrison and we’ll decide, but I would think we might run in the Golden Rod. We’re right here at home.”
BRIAN HERNANDEZ JR., jockey on RACHEL ALEXANDRA (runner-up)
“She ran good. We got in a little tight spot turning for home. I thought going down the backside that the 7-horse (Petty Things) would clear us and I could get outside of her, but she never did. She kind of stayed out there and stayed out there, so we kind of got stuck in a pocket. When she finally got out, Robby (Albarado on Sara Louise) had the jump on her. I don’t think she’d have beat that filly anyway today – she ran a big race.”
SHAUN BRIDGMOHAN, jockey on SELECTIVE (third)
“She just turned her head right before they sprung the latch. But she actually did good just after that. She had a pretty smooth trip. The winner obviously ran lights out and the second horse is obviously a nice horse. I thought my horse really ran a respectable race.”
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