Farrell Proves Best in East With Rachel Alexandra Win

Fair Grounds

Fair Grounds (photo via Zimbio.com).

Coffeepot Stables homebred Farrell officially took over as the top sophomore filly in the East on Saturday with her impressive wire-to-wire score in the $200,000 Rachel Alexandra Stakes (GII) at Fair Grounds in New Orleans. The bay daughter of Malibu Moon was ridden to victory by jockey Channing Hill for trainer Wayne Catalano and defeated a field of six other fillies.

From the break, Hill guided Farrell right to the lead and the pair led at every call through somewhat pedestrian splits of :23.92, :47.32 and 1:12.22 for three-quarters of a mile, with rival Untapped doing most of the early chasing. Though briefly challenged for the lead as she began to straighten out for the drive, Farrell slowly began to pull away and, despite switching to her left lead when given a stiff crack of the whip just after passing a mile in 1:37.18, drew away to the easy victory, stopping the clock in 1:44.09.

Farrell finished 3 ½ lengths in front of the fast-closing maiden Majestic Quality and returned $9.60, $4.80 and $3.20. Majestic Quality capped off a generous $128 exacta for $2 and paid $15.60 and $5.40 at odds of nearly 24-1. Valadorna, the narrow 3-2 second choice, was worth $2.20 and the $1 trifecta was good for $162.80.

Wicked Lick, the favored Shane’s Girlfriend, Untapped and Gris Gris completed the final order of finish.

Farrell, who was bred in Kentucky, is a daughter of the stakes-winning Unbridled’s Song mare Rebridled Dreams, who finished third in this race in 2003 when it was still named the Silverbulletday Stakes. She’s been nothing short of exceptional in her second career as a broodmare, having produced two Grade I winners in Carpe Diem and J. B.’s Thunder previously. With the $120,000 winner’s share of the Rachel Alexandra purse, Farrell brought her bankroll to $361,357 and her career line now stands at 6-4-0-1.

“I’m very happy with the performance she gave me today,” Catalano said. “She was pretty good. I was happy when [Hill] said she settled for him down the backside. Today was our race.”

Catalano will get Farrell back to the barn and take a few days before deciding what’s next for his barn star, but since she’s based at Fair Grounds this winter and has two wins over the surface already, the April 1 Fair Grounds Oaks is the most logical last step before the May 5 Kentucky Oaks (GI).

Margaret Ransom
California native and lifelong horsewoman Margaret Ransom is a graduate of the University of Arizona’s Race Track Industry Program. She got her start in racing working in the publicity departments at Calder Race Course and Hialeah Park, as well as in the racing office at Gulfstream Park in South Florida. She then spent six years in Lexington, KY, at BRISnet.com, where she helped create and develop the company’s popular newsletters: Handicapper’s Edge and Bloodstock Journal.

After returning to California, she served six years as the Southern California news correspondent for BloodHorse, assisted in the publicity department at Santa Anita Park and was a contributor to many other racing publications, including HorsePlayer Magazine and Trainer Magazine. She then spent seven years at HRTV and HRTV.com in various roles as researcher, programming assistant, producer and social media and marketing manager.

She has also walked hots and groomed runners, worked the elite sales in Kentucky for top-class consignors and volunteers for several racehorse retirement organizations, including CARMA.

In 2016, Margaret was the recipient of the prestigious Stanley Bergstein Writing Award, sponsored by Team Valor, and was an Eclipse Award honorable mention for her story, “The Shocking Untold Story of Maria Borell,” which appeared on USRacing.com. The article and subsequent stories helped save 43 abandoned and neglected Thoroughbreds in Kentucky and also helped create a new animal welfare law known as the “Borell Law.”

Margaret’s very first Breeders’ Cup was at Hollywood Park in 1984 and she has attended more than half of the Breeders’ Cups since. She counts Holy Bull and Arrogate as her favorite horses of all time. She lives in Pasadena with her longtime beau, Tony, two Australian Shepherds and one Golden Retriever.

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