Coffeepot Stables’ homebred filly Farrell was bet down to 4-5 odds and responded with a solid showing in the Listed $ 150,000 Silverbulletday Stakes, the first of three New Orleans stepping stones to the Grade I $ 1,000,000 Longines Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs on May 5. After breaking well from post three of six sophomore fillies, the Wayne Catalano trainee raced comfortably in second off Naveed Chowhan’s Bernie Flint-trained Gris Gris through splits of 23.80, 47.67 and 1:13.31. Launching a bid on the turn, she was followed and challenged by another high-profile filly in Winchell Thoroughbreds Steve Asmussen-trained Untapped, a full-sister to Oaks-winning champion Untapable, but repelled that charge at the top of the stretch and shook free to win by 2¾ lengths over Lee Mauberret’s rallying Brendan Walsh trainee, Wicked Lick. Farrell completed the mile and 70 yards in 1:44.01.
Farrell won her second consecutive stakes following the Grade II Golden Rod Stakes on Nov. 26 at the site of the Oaks, Churchill Downs. The half-sister to Grade I winners J B’s Thunder and Carpe Diem won for the third time in five career attempts and earned $ 90,000 to increase her career bankroll to $ 241,357. She returned $ 3.60, $ 2.80 and $ 2.10 to her wagering faithful, while Wicked Lick, under Brian Hernandez, Jr., returned $ 5.60 and $ 3.80 and Gris Gris held on for third, returning $ 4.20 under James Graham.
“This is a very classy filly,” Hill said. “She’s bred to be a good horse and the whole barn has done a good job getting her to this level. She shut off really nicely for me, took a few deep breaths down the backside and then punched home when [Untapped] came outside of me.”
“It went accordingly,” Catalano said. “Channing thought (Gris Gris) would have some speed, so I told him we would just go to the front and sit right off her. That’s what we did. We had a nervous moment (at the top of the stretch), but not a whole bunch. You want to wait until mid-stretch here before you really worry. At that point, she was looking nice and Channing was sitting pretty good.
“We had a great trip,” Hernandez said. “I knew I had horse and at the top of the stretch I thought I could maybe out-grind them. She finished off really good and is getting better and better as we go along. Every race is an improvement.”
“I’m really happy with her performance,” Walsh added. “She keeps getting better.”
James Graham was very pleased with 16-1 longshot Gris Gris’ performance. “The winner was always outside us, so I broke and said ‘let’s go’,” he said. “My filly never stopped running. She wasn’t even handling the track that well, but she ran as well as she did, so I hope she moves forward.”
“I was a little wider than I thought I would be, but overall it was a clean trip,” jockey Florent Geroux said of Untapped, the morning-line favorite and 6-5 second choice at post time. “I tried to follow Farrell around and we got out-kicked down the stretch. Last time we easily beat the runner-up, so sometimes you never know. We’ll get her another day.”
Summertime Sky, Untapped and Seeking Bull completed the order of finish.
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