May 26, 2024

Tarifa powers clear in Rachel Alexandra

Tarifa wins the Rachel Alexandra Stakes (G2 ) at Fair Grounds (Photo by Hodges Photography / Credit to Amanda Hodges Weir)

Tarifa made her move leaving the far turn and drew off to a 2 3/4-length victory in Saturday’s Rachel Alexandra (G2) at Fair Grounds. The exciting three-year-old filly made her stakes debut a winning one over the sloppy track, scoring easily for owner/breeder Godolphin and Brad Cox, and Flavien Prat was up on the dark bay daughter of Bernardini.

A Road to the Kentucky Oaks series qualifier, Tarifa picked up 50 points defeating a well-regarded group of rivals. Intricate, who was exiting a convincing win in the Golden Rod (G2) at Churchill Downs last fall, rallied late to be a clear second while never a threat to the winner.

“I was travelling well the entire way and she kicked home well,” Prat said.

Cox earned his third win in the 1 1/16-mile race, capturing the 2018 edition with subsequent Kentucky Oaks winner Monomoy Girl, and Tarifa appears to have a bright future, as well. She left the starting gate as the 5-2 second choice.

The Kentucky-bred has now captured three of four starts. Tarifa romped by six lengths when making her first start at Keeneland in late October, but the stalker broke poorly and failed to fire when favored in an entry-level allowance at Churchill Downs a month later. She rebounded in her seasonal debut, stretching to two turns at Fair Grounds on Jan. 20, and Tarifa may aim for the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) on March 23 as her final Kentucky Oaks prep.

“The Rachel Alexandra has been a great path to the Kentucky Oaks and we’ve had some success with (the Fair Grounds) route,” Cox said. “This is a good filly and we will keep marching forward.”

Perfect Shot showed the way after the break, established splits in :24.37 and :48.55 while being tracked on the outside by the Cox-trained Alpine Princess, who left the starting gate at 4.40-1 odds following a two-length victory in the Dec. 23 Untapable S. at Fair Grounds. Tarifa settled just behind the top pair, a couple of lengths back through the opening three-quarters of mile.

Alpine Princess drew alongside the pacesetter rounding the far turn, as Tarifa bided her time along the rail, and Prat angled his mount for clear sailing while straightening for home. Tarifa charged to the front in midstretch and won comfortably.

Intricate, the 1.70-1 favorite, offered a fine move from off the pace to be three lengths clear of Perfect Shot, who fended off Alpine Princess in the stretch to be a clear third. Alpine Princess held fourth by a neck over Grade 3 winner V V’s Dream, who was never a factor, and Pennick rounded out the six runners.

Tarifa hails from the unraced Awesome Again mare Kite Beach, a daughter Grade 2-winning mare Tizdubai, a sister to Horse of the Year Tiznow and multiple Grade 2-winning millionaire Budroyale, and this also the immediate female family of 2013 Preakness (G1) winner Oxbow.