HOT SPRINGS, AR – Gary Barber’s Power Gal powered past her foes in deep stretch en route to winning Saturday’s $125,000 Martha Washington Stakes at Oaklawn Park.
Breaking from post 6 under David Cohen at 3/1 odds, Power Gal raced two-wide in midpack early while Marathon Queen and Taylor’s Spirit dueled through tepid opening fractions of :24.73, :49.95, and 1:14.32. Closing in midway through the far turn, Cohen angled the Mark Casse trainee out to run four-wide around the pacesetters and Sheza Handfull, who made a very fleeting attempt at the leaders. Under a steady drive the length of the stretch, Power Gal collared the front-runners inside the final furlong before drawing off late to win by a 1/2-length in a final time of 1:39.82 for the mile-long event over the fast main track.
Despite yielding late to the winner, Marathon Queen had enough left in her tank to neck out Taylor’s Spirit for second. The 8/5 favorite Sunset Wish was rank early and never put forth a serious threat before finishing fourth. Crafty’s Dream took fifth over a weakened Sheza Handfull, while Arch Avenue was off slowly and never factored into the final running to complete the order of finish.
The Martha Washington is part of the Road to the 2019 Kentucky Oaks prep race season. Power Gal earned 10 points for the win, with Marathon Queen receiving 4 for second, Taylor’s Spirit 2 for third, and Sunset Wish 1 for fourth.
Power Gal’s win came in her stakes debut and improved her overall record to 4-2-0-2. The 3-year-old Japanese-bred daughter of Empire Maker increased her lifetime earnings to $126,370.
“She’s a filly we liked a lot,” Casse said. “Early on in the year, she had a few little nagging injuries. Took her to New York, she won in New York, and I thought her last race was sneakingly good. We shipped her to Oaklawn because there’s such a great 3-year-old series, filly and colt series. That’s one of the reasons she’s there.”
Power Gal returned $8.40 to win, $4.40 to place, and $3.40 to show. Marathon Queen brought back $3.80 to place and $3.20 to show, while Taylor’s Spirit paid $3 to show.