The Road to the Kentucky Derby and Road to the Kentucky Oaks kicked-off in prime time under the lights Saturday night at Churchill Downs. It was the first race meet held in September since 1890 and nearly 15 thousand fans showed up for the party!
Untapable remained perfect in two starts with a determined half-length victory over Stonetastic in Saturday night's 45th running of the Grade II, $168,150 Pocahontas at Churchill Downs. Ridden by Rosie Napravnik and trained by Steve Asmussen, Untapable ran 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:44.38 and banked $101,125 for the win.
Additionally, the Pocahontas is part of the Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" Challenge Series, which means Untapable has secured a starting spot and travel allowance to the $2 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita on Nov. 1. She also is the early points-leader on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks. The Pocahontas was the first of 15 "Kentucky Oaks Prep Season" races in which points are awarded to the Top 4 finishers on a 10-4-2-1 scale.While the card was filled with great racing, both the Iroquois and the Pocahontas provided us a glimpse of what’s in store for the Breeders’ Cup juvenile divisions as well as a long look down the road for next year’s Derby and Oaks!
Donegal Racing's unbeaten Cleburne, a 34-1 longshot making just the second start of his young career, rallied from eighth to grab the lead near the finish and then held off a furious late surge by stablemate Smart Cover to win the 32nd running of the $173,250 Iroquois (Grade III) for 2-year-olds by a head on Saturday night at Churchill Downs.
The result of a three-horse photo finish provide a 1-2 finish for Iowa-based Donegal Racing and trainer Dale Romans, a Louisville, Ky. native who won the Iroquois for the first time. With the victory, Cleburne became the first horse to collect points in the Road to the Kentucky Derby, the points system that will determine the eligibility of horses to compete in the 2014 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands on Saturday, May 3 at Churchill Downs.
The victory in the Road to the Kentucky Derby opener provided Cleburne with 10 points, while runner-up Smart Cover collected 4. Third-place Tapiture, who finished a neck back of the top pair in third, earned two points. The Iroquois also was a stop on the Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" Challenge Series and Cleburne's victory earned the son of Dixie Union a spot in the starting gate for the $2 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile (GI) at Santa Anita on Saturday, Nov. 2. Cleburne also earned a travel stipend for the trip to Southern California for the Breeders' Cup Championships.