NEW ORLEANS, LA – Coffeepot Stables’ homebred Farrell was pure class on Saturday afternoon at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, taking the Grade 2, $400,000 Twinspires.com Fair Grounds Oaks for trainer Wayne Catalano by 3 1/4 lengths. The win catapulted her into possible favoritism for the Grade 1, $1,000,000 Longines Kentucky Oaks on May 5 at Churchill Downs.
Unlike five weeks ago in the Grade 2 Rachel Alexandra, Farrell did not have an easy lead this time. Jockey Channing Hill instead rated her confidently in the clear in third around the first turn, keeping nothing in her way while losing ground in the four path. She galloped along comfortably for Hill through the back stretch and around the far turn before cruising to the front and drawing clear in the stretch over five rivals. She finished the 1 1/16 miles over the fast main track in 1:43.67.
Lee Mauberret’s consistent Brendan Walsh-trainee Wicked Lick, second two starts back to Farrell in the Silverbulletday Stakes and fourth last out in the Rachel Alexandra after a tough trip, raced up the rail under Brian Hernandez, Jr. She nailed Calumet Farm’s Neil Drysdale-trained Vexatious, under Kent Desormeaux, by a nose for the place. It was another 7 1/2 lengths to Daria’s Angel in fourth. Corporate Queen and Queen Bernardina completed the order of finish.
Sent to post as the 2-5 favorite, Farrell earned $240,000 to increase her career bankroll to $601,357 while winning her fourth consecutive stakes event and third at the Grade 2 level. She now owns a record of five wins and a third from seven tries for her three-time Breeders’ Cup-winning trainer.
“Wayne and the barn have done a great job with a really good filly,” Hill said. “She’s terrific and just keeps getting better and better. She settled extremely well today. I didn’t ask her until we left the 1/8 pole, and I still had a ton of horse.”
“We feel very good [heading to the Kentucky Oaks],” Catalano said. “She’s doing everything we’ve asked her to do, and she’s coming around and she’s maturing. The way she’s settling down, she’s really learning.”
Farrell returned $2.80, $2.40, and $2.10. Wicked Lick brought back $6.20 and $2.80, while Vexatious paid $2.20 to show.
Jockey Brian Hernandez, Jr., Wicked Lick: “She’s a nice filly to ride. She keeps staying, and the good thing is, she keeps getting better and better. She keeps answering the question, and each race, she just steps it up more and more. She’s a great filly to ride because she just grinds it out and she wants to do her job, which makes it nice.”
Trainer Brendan Walsh, Wicked Lick: “She’s Wicked Lick – she always tries. She ran great, she saved ground, and she always shows up. It looks like ‘Why not?’ as far as the Oaks. She’s a good filly.”
Jockey Kent Desormeaux, Vexatious: “She stuck her neck out there and tried to be second. I was proud of her. I thought she had everything her way and she responded. It was a beautiful trip and she’s getting faster. She’s a little keen, but not out of control, and should improve.”
Fair Grounds Race Course