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Alpine Princess won the 2023 Untapable Stakes at Fair Grounds, a 2024 Kentucky Oaks (G1) prep race in gate-to-wire fashion.
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Fighting through and winning the early battle for positioning in and out of the first turn, Full of Run Racing and Madakat Stables’ Alpine Princess wired five fillies in Saturday’s $100,000 Untapable at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, one of eight stakes run on the “Road to the Derby Kickoff Day” card.
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Though Alpine Princess’ lead seemed insurmountable, stablemate West Omaha never quit through the stretch to finish 2 lengths back at the wire, securing the Brad Cox-trained exacta. Alpine Princess covered the 1 mile 70 yards in 1:43.08 to earn 10 points towards a post in the Kentucky Oaks 150 starting gates. Owned by Gary and Mary West, West Omaha collected 5 Oaks points.
Breaking from the rail and brushing an outer foe, Alpine Princess found herself in the rear at the outset, but her jockey Florent Geroux urged her through the encroaching outside fillies unscathed and into command of the field with first-time router Legadema in chase mode at her tail. After scrambling through the first turn three-wide, West Omaha took a tracking position in fourth.
Traveling comfortably in :24.27 and :48.29, Alpine Princess grew bold, adding distance to her lead at every call, as Legadema began to fade turning for home. West Omaha and Sistina Chapel were coming on, but the latter could not match strides and crossed the wire three lengths behind West Omaha in third for trainer Ken McPeek, earning 3 Oaks points. Legadema held on for fourth and 2 points. Band of Gold managed fifth and 1 point.
Sent off as the 8-5 favorite, Alpine Princess returned $5.40, $3.00, $2.40. West Omaha paid $3.40, 2.40. Sistina Chapel offered $3.40 to show.
“It wasn’t my plan to go to the lead,” Geroux said. “But she broke well and I was going to get squeezed pretty hard leaving there, so I just took the best option and that was to let my filly run and not take a very strong hold going into the first turn. I had to give her a couple of reminders right at the end. She was getting a little lost the last furlong. She’s a very honest filly. We’ve liked her from the beginning. I don’t see many fillies on this circuit right now who blow my mind. We know the route to take (towards the Kentucky Oaks).”
Alpine Princess’s first stakes victory ratcheted her career earnings up $210,810 to match her 5-3-0-1 record.
“She broke fine and I was forwardly placed but Legadema was quick out of the gates, too, so I thought to just follow him,” said West Omaha’s jockey Joel Rosario. “It looked like the race was setting up for us, but the horse on the inside got a good trip. It was (West Omaha’s) first time going two turns, I thought she hung in there very well. She did everything I asked her to do.”
Last year’s Untapable winner, Pretty Mischievous, would go on to win the Rachel Alexandra presented by Fasig-Tipton (G2) and finish second in the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) en route to an eventual score in Kentucky Oaks 149.
The Road to the Kentucky Oaks through Fair Grounds picks back up on Jan. 20. Fasig-Tipton sponsors Fair Grounds’ 2024 series for 3-year-old fillies. The Fasig-Tipton Tremé Triple consists of the Silverbulletday Stakes (ran on Jan. 20), the Grade 2 Rachel Alexandra (Feb. 17), and the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) on March 23. The name of the race series is a tribute to the historic Tremé neighborhood of New Orleans that borders Fair Grounds Race Course.
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