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2022 Rachel Alexandra Stakes Replay And Reaction | Turnerloose Upsets Kentucky Oaks Prep
Credit: Hodges Photography

2022 Rachel Alexandra Stakes Replay And Reaction | Turnerloose Upsets Kentucky Oaks Prep

The Racing Dudes team reacts to Turnerloose upsetting Saturday’s Rachel Alexandra Stakes (G2) at Fair Grounds, then discuss who they like moving forward, including any potential longshots. Join our replay watch-along and let us know your thoughts about the race in the Comments section! The Rachel Alexandra is the first Kentucky Oaks (G1) prep each year to award points on a 50-20-10-5 basis.

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The track press release:

Two-time Eclipse Award winning trainer Brad Cox usually goes into graded stakes races with a pretty good idea of how his horses stack up, but until she hit the finish line in front on Saturday, Ike and Dawn Thrash’s Turnerloose was a mystery to Cox and most of the public in the $300,000 Rachel Alexandra Stakes (G2) presented by Fasig-Tipton.

Dismissed at odds of 17.50-1 under Florent Geroux, Turnerloose sat a quiet stalking trip before emerging four-wide in the stretch run to post the upset win by a half-length over Red Oak Stable’s longshot Goddess of Fire. It was another 2-3/4-lengths back to Awake At Midnyte in third.

“To be honest I didn’t know if she could handle the dirt,” said Cox, who teamed with Geroux to win this race in 2018 with superstar Monomoy Girl. “She worked well enough last fall. I gave her a little bit of a break. She worked well enough here at Fair Grounds. She always tries hard. We saw a better version of her today than we did in California (Breeders’ Cup).”

In making her dirt debut, Turnerloose ($37) notched her first graded stakes win. She entered off a last place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf to end her 2-year-old season.  The first four starts of her career all came on lawn.

“I expected her to be forwardly placed and she broke really well,” Geroux commented. “I was in a good spot but there were two horses in front of me going into the first turn so we sat chilly and I was able to keep a nice rhythm and not force the pace if I didn’t have to. When I got my window, I fit her in and coming down the lane, I tipped her outside and continually kept getting on her. She was getting brave and went on to catch a nice filly.”

The 3-year-old daughter of Nyquist out of the A.P. Indy mare Goaltending stopped the clock in 1:44.22 for the 1 1/16 miles affair. The winner’s share of $180,000 bumps her career earnings mark to $531,300 with a record of 5-2-0-1. She also picked up 50 points on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks with her Rachel Alexandra win.

The race awarded points on a 50-20-10-5 scale to the top four finishers toward a spot in the starting gate for the April 30 Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs. The next step on Fair Grounds’ Road to the Kentucky Oaks is the March 26 Fair Grounds Oaks.

“We will take a look at both the Fair Grounds Oaks and the Ashland as possibly her next start,” Cox said.

Hidden Connection, the 2-to-1 favorite, made her move turning for home with the leaders but missed third by 1 ¾ lengths to Awake At Midnyte.

“You’re always disappointed when you don’t win,” trainer Bret Calhoun said. “I think it was a good race for her to move forward. Reylu (jockey Gutierrez) had to use her some out of the gate being stuck in the 11-post. He worked out a good trip going into first turn and it went smooth from there. She fought hard but just got a little empty on us. She’s been off a good while and her works coming back were subpar until that last work which was good. So I think we gave up a little fitness there. If we could have got that last work two weeks ago, I think we would’ve been where we needed to be. We were just a little short today.”

The rest of field behind Hidden Connection in order of finish was Miss Mattie B, Dream Lith, North County, Candy Raid, Divine Huntress, California Angel and La Crete, who pulled up at the three-eighths pole and was vanned off.

According to the connections, X-rays revealed La Crete suffered a condylar fracture in her right front and surgery will be performed tomorrow.

“Steve (trainer Asmussen) is with Barbara (owner Banke),” assistant trainer Scott Blasi said. “Everything humanly possible is being done. She (La Crete) is resting comfortably now.”

Additional Quotes:

Doug O’Neill, trainer Awake At Midnyte, finished 3rd

“I’m going to have to watch the replay. I thought there was a lot going on there. We will regroup off this and go for the next spot.”

Luis Saez, jockey Goddess of Fire, finished 2nd

“She made a nice move. She never gave up. Always trying and she ran through the wire. The seven [Turnerloose] came flying. We just could keep up with her.”

Reylu Gutierrez, jockey of Hidden Connection, finished 4th;

“We had to hustle her into the first turn more than we would have liked to establish that position but we established it. I’m not sure what happened with the 1 [La Crete], but when Joel went out wide it pushed me wide. I had to use a little more just to clear and get over for the safety of the other horses. “[Hidden Connection] is going to get better. The boss knows, we have seen what we have seen in the mornings, and she is going to move forward a lot from this race more than those past couple works.”