April 14, 2024

Turnerloose takes to the dirt in Rachel Alexandra upset

Turnerloose with jockey Florent Geroux outduels Goddess Of Fire to win the Rachel Alexandra Stakes (Photo by Hodges Photography / Lou Hodges, Jr.)

Turnerloose made the transition from turf to dirt just fine when posting an upset victory in Saturday’s $300,000 Rachel Alexandra S. (G2) at Fair Grounds, a Road to the Kentucky Oaks series prep over 1 1/16 miles.

Although she had demonstrated plenty of class at two, winning a stakes and narrowly missing in a Grade 2, Turnerloose had never run on dirt prior to the Rachel Alexandra, in which she was sent off as a 17-1 chance in the field of 11 three-year-old fillies.

Breaking alertly under Florent Geroux, Turnerloose was settled into a ground-saving position when outrun into the first turn by La Crete and 2-1 favorite Hidden Connection. She was continuing to track close when La Crete was abruptly pulled up and subsequently vanned off. Owner Stonestreet Stables later revealed via Twitter that La Crete suffered a condylar fracture that would require surgery.

Hidden Connection inherited the lead and was followed around the far turn by Away At Midnyte and Goddess of Fire. Still saving ground behind that trio, Turnerloose maintained that position until Geroux swung her out for the stretch drive. With Goddess of Fire the target passing the eighth pole after edging past a tiring Hidden Connection, Turnerloose turned in a strong late kick to win by a half-length.

Owned by Ike and Dawn Thrash and trained by Brad Cox, Turnerloose completed the race over a fast track in 1:44.22 and paid $37. Goddess of Fire finished second by 2 3/4 lengths ahead of Awake At Midnyte, who beat Hidden Connection a head for third. The order of finish was rounded out by Miss Mattie B, Dream Lith, North County, Candy Raid, Divine Huntress, and California Angel, with La  Crete not finishing.

Turnerloose earned 50 qualifying points for the Kentucky Oaks, tantamount to an automatic bid. Goddess of Fire earned 20 points, increasing her total to 22, while Awake At Midnyte earned 10 points, boosting her total to 14. Hidden Connection earned five points and now has 17 in total.

A one-length debut winner at Ellis Park going a mile on the grass, Turnerloose followed with a five-length score in the Juvenile Fillies S. at Kentucky Downs, also over a mile. She next attempted to lead throughout in the Jessamine (G2) at Keeneland, but was caught late by California Angel by a neck.

In her season finale, the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) at Del Mar, Turnerloose tracked in second most of the before beating a quick retreat and trailing home last in a field of 14. She’s now earned $531,300.

“California wasn’t her thing,” said Cox, who won the Rachel Alexandra and Kentucky Oaks in 2018 with champion Monomoy Girl. “She was off the bridle going up the backside. I think she was a tired filly at that point. We gave her a break, regrouped, and I think we saw a better version of her than we did in Southern California.”

Bred in Kentucky by William Humphries and Altair Farm, Turnerloose brought $50,000 at Keeneland September. By Nyquist, she was produced by Goaltending, a daughter of A.P. Indy and the Grade 1-winning Game Face.