June 24, 2024

Tarifa extends win streak to three with Fair Grounds Oaks triumph

Tarifa wins the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) at Fair Grounds (Photo by Hodges Photography / Credit to Lou Hodges, Jr.)

After skipping through the slop to win last month’s Rachel Alexandra (G2) by 2 3/4 lengths, Tarifa might have been in need of a stiffer final prep for the Kentucky Oaks (G1). She got one, and the victory, in Saturday’s $388,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (G2).

Favored at 3-2 in a six-filly field, Tarifa was forced to steady around the clubhouse turn and then settled in second behind pacesetter and stakes newcomer Our Pretty Woman down the backside. Tarifa eventually battled with that rival through the long stretch and her class and experience won the day, but by a much narrower margin of three-quarters of a length.

“She’s not a big filly but she’s handled everything we asked of her this winter,” said trainer Brad Cox, who also won Saturday’s Louisiana Derby (G2) with Catching Freedom.

Tarifa, who started her present three-race win streak with an allowance win at Fair Grounds on Jan. 20, completed 1 1/16 miles over a fast track in 1:43.24 under Flavien Prat and paid $5.

Our Pretty Woman, who had captured her first two starts, ran a strong race to earn the place, 3 1/4 lengths ahead of V V’s Dream. Accommodate Eva was 5 3/4 lengths behind in fourth.

The disappointment in the race was 2-1 second choice Intricate, who faded badly through the stretch to finish fifth. The Golden Rod (G2) winner was expected to improve on her season-opening second in the Rachel Alexandra, but lacked any kind of punch after a favorable stalking trip. Midsummer March, the longest shot on the board, trailed the field.

Tarifa earned 100 qualifying points toward the Kentucky Oaks, boosting her total to 150. Our Pretty Woman secured 50 points, while V V’s Dream boosted her total from 23 to 48. Accommodate Eva increased her total from two to 17, and Intricate jumped from 35 to 45.

Tarifa is a homebred racing for Godolphin, who won the Kentucky Oaks (G1) last year with eventual division champion Pretty Mischievous. That filly ran second in the Fair Grounds Oaks after winning the Rachel Alexandra.

A daughter of Bernardini, Tarifa has now won four of five starts. The only blip on her record was a fourth in a Churchill Downs allowance last November, which followed a six-length debut score at Keeneland.

Tarifa was produced by the Awesome Again mare Kite Beach and is from the family of two-time Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner and Hall of Fame inductee Tiznow.