Coffeepot Stables’ homebred Farrell continued marching her way back to Churchill Downs on Saturday with an effortless 3 1/4-length victory in the $388,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (G2).
Sent off the 2-5 favorite, the Wayne Catalano trainee found herself four wide on the first turn before settling outside in third under jockey Channing Hill as Daria’s Angel set the pace through splits of :24.09, :47.55 and 1:12.09.
Farrell rounded the second bend in the four path as well before grabbing command and pulling off in the lane. Hill pulled the whip late, but only to keep her mind on business as Farrell drifted a bit while well in front of her five rivals to complete 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.67 on the fast dirt.
Farrell paid $2.80 for the win, her third straight at Fair Grounds to complete a sweep of the track’s three-year-old filly series of stakes leading up to the May 5 Kentucky Oaks (G1). The Malibu Moon lass earned 100 points toward a starting berth in the Run for the Lilies thanks to this score and now sits on top of the Kentucky Oaks Leaderboard with 170 total points.
Wicked Lick, the second longest shot on the board at 14-1, got the best of 7-2 second choice Vexatious by a nose on the wire. Daria’s Angel filled the fourth spot another 7 1/2 lengths behind, while Corporate Queen and Queen Bernardina completed the order of finish.
Farrell is now headed back to Churchill Downs, the same track over which she began her career last September 17. The Kentucky-bred miss ran fourth in her debut before romping by five lengths to break her maiden on October 1. She finished third in her stakes debut, the Rags to Riches Stakes, then easily wired the Golden Rod Stakes (G2) by six lengths to close out her juvenile campaign on November 26.
Farrell kicked off 2017 in the first leg of Fair Grounds’ filly series, the January 21 Silverbulletday Stakes, posting a 2 3/4-length victory on that occasion. She followed up last out on February 25 in the Rachel Alexandra Stakes (G2) with a 3 1/2-length wire job, and improved her record to read 7-5-0-1, $601,357, with the Fair Grounds Oaks triumph.
Out of the stakes-winning Unbridled’s Song mare Rebridled Dreams, who finished second in the 2003 Silverbulletday when it was a Grade 2, Farrell is a half-sister to Grade 1 victors Carpe Diem and J. B.’s Thunder.
FAIR GROUNDS OAKS QUOTES
Channing Hill, jockey Farrell, winner
“(Trainer) Wayne (Catalano) and the barn have done a great job with a really good filly. She’s terrific and just keeps getting better and better. She settled extremely well today. I didn’t ask her until we left the eighth pole, and I still had a ton of horse.”
Wayne Catalano, trainer Farrell, winner
“We feel very good (heading to the Kentucky Oaks). She’s doing everything we’ve asked her to do, and she’s coming around and she’s maturing. The way she’s settling down, she’s really learning.”
Brian Hernandez Jr., jockey Wicked Lick, second
“She’s a nice filly to ride. She keeps staying and the good thing is she keeps getting better and better. She keeps answering the question and each race she just steps it up more and more. She’s a great filly to ride because she just grinds it out and she wants to do her job, which makes it nice.”
Brendan Walsh, trainer Wicked Lick, second
“She’s Wicked Lick – she always tries. She ran great, she saved ground and she always shows up. It looks like ‘why not’ as far as the Oaks. She’s a good filly.”
Kent Desormeaux, jockey Vexatious, third
“She stuck her neck out there and tried to be second. I was proud of her. I thought she had everything her way and she responded. It was a beautiful trip and she’s getting faster. She’s a little keen, but not out of control and should improve.”