After sweeping a trio of major races in Germany, and returning triumphant in France’s Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud (G1), Alpinista collected her first Group 1 on home soil in Thursday’s Yorkshire Oaks (G1). The 7-4 favorite kept finding to repel classic-winning sophomore Tuesday and extend her overall winning streak to seven.
A Kirsten Rausing homebred trained by Sir Mark Prescott, Alpinista will now set her sights on the Oct. 2 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1). The Yorkshire Oaks serves as a “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1), but that 1 3/16-mile event would be an unlikely port of call for a true 1 1/2-mile performer.
Under regular rider Luke Morris, Alpinista took up a close stalking position as a pair of Irish Group 1 heroines went forward. Magical Lagoon, coming off an Irish Oaks (G1) victory, took the early lead, attended by last-out Pretty Polly (G1) winner La Petite Coco. Rounding the turn, La Petite Coco got the upper hand. Although Magical Lagoon tried to respond, she could not maintain her position and unfolded down the York straight.
Alpinista smoothly covered La Petite Coco’s move and collared the new leader. Just when the favorite began to assert, though, she faced a fresh challenge from the 7-2 Tuesday, who split her Irish compatriots to offer a stout rally. The Epsom Oaks (G1) winner was receiving nine pounds from the older Alpinista, and appeared intent on making the most of her concession.
Yet Alpinista had more in reserve to keep the three-year-old at bay. The daughter of Frankel held sway by one length while completing nearly 1 1/2 miles in 2:29.92.
Tuesday had 1 3/4 lengths to spare over third-placer La Petite Coco. Lilac Road, mulish before the start, finished with interest to snatch fourth from Magical Lagoon. French sophomore Raclette, supplemented to this race by Andre Fabre, was never traveling in sixth, and longshot Poptronic rounded out the order under the wire.
Alpinista’s resume reads 14-9-2-0. When runner-up to Love in the 2020 Yorkshire Oaks at three, Alpinista was wheeling back a week after taking the Upavon Fillies’ S. at Salisbury. She concluded her sophomore season with a close second in the Princess Royal (G3) at Newmarket, her last loss.
Her pedigree pointed to Alpinista’s flourishing with maturity, and 2021 was indeed her breakout year. She warmed up with a determined victory in the Daisy Warwick Fillies’ S. at Goodwood, and notched her first Group win in the Lancashire Oaks (G2). Sent to Germany to pursue a Group 1, Alpinista defeated males in the Grosser Preis von Berlin (G1) – a result that was boosted when runner-up Torquator Tasso came back to turn a Group 1 double capped by the Arc. Alpinista continued her successful German raids in the Preis von Europa (G1) and Grosser Preis von Bayern (G1).
Kept in training in 2022 with the ultimate aim of the Arc, the five-year-old wasn’t quite ready to launch her season as Prescott first planned in the Coronation Cup (G1). The fallback position was the July 3 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud, and she rewarded connections’ patience by rolling in a fast-run race. In the Yorkshire Oaks, Alpinista was reverting to exclusively female company for the first time since her Group 1 spree began last summer.
The third-generation Prescott trainee is adding to the legacy of her storied family, cultivated by Rausing for five generations now. The gray inherits her coat color from the female line descending from the Aga Khan’s Alruccaba.
Alpinista’s dam, the Hernando mare Alwilda, earned her stakes laurel in Cologne’s marathon Silbernes Band in 2015. Alwilda was herself out of Albanova, who was honored as Germany’s Horse of the Year for capturing three Group 1s in 2004 – in principle the same races that granddaughter Alpinista would sweep 17 years later.
Albanova produced a total of four stakes winners, including Group 3 scorer Algometer and All at Sea, herself the dam of current Queen’s Vase (G2) hero Eldar Eldarov. Albanova’s full sister, two-time Champion S. (G1) queen Alborada, is herself the ancestress of such major performers as Alyssa, Shine So Bright, and Albaflora, runner-up to Snowfall in the 2021 Yorkshire Oaks.
Further back, this is the extended family of Group 1 winners Quarter Moon, Yesterday, Galileo Chrome, Aussie Rules, Allegretto, and Coronet. The latter pair both placed twice in the Yorkshire Oaks, Allegretto in 2006-07 and Coronet playing second fiddle to Enable (2017) and Sea of Class (2018).