May 17, 2022

Farrell seeks fourth in a row in Fair Grounds Oaks

Farrell with jockey Channing Hill aboard wins the 37th running of the Grade II Rachel Alexandra Stakes at fair Grounds. Hodges Photography / Lou Hodges, Jr.

The three-year-old filly Farrell has won three in a row and four of her last five. Her most lucrative payday could come in Saturday’s $400,000 Fair Grounds (G2), where she will be a strong favorite to defeat seven rivals and definitively punch her ticket to the Kentucky Oaks (G1).

A victory in the 1 1/16-mile Fair Grounds Oaks, won by luminaries I’m a Chatterbox, Untapable, Believe You Can, Rachel Alexandra, and Proud Spell in the last decade, will reward the winner 100 qualifying points toward Kentucky Oaks eligibility. The second- through fourth-place finishers will receive 20, 10, and five points, respectively.

Farrell was a blowout winner of the Golden Rod (G2) at Churchill Downs last November, and has been unstoppable in two earlier Oaks preps this winter. Leading home Wicked Lick by 2 3/4 lengths in the $145,000 Silverbulletday, she had a 3 1/2-length margin on Majestic Quality in the Rachel Alexandra (G3) last month.

Trainer Mark Casse ships in Corporate Queen and Summer Luck from his Palm Meadows base. Corporate Queen, relatively unexposed with only two starts behind her, was privately purchased out of her winning Laurel debut on January 15 by Gary Barber and Bobby Flay, and subsequently ran second in a seven-furlong allowance at Gulfstream. Both she and Summer Luck, a closing second in the one-mile Davona Dale (G2), might enjoy the stretch-out to two turns.

Vexatious, owned by Calumet Farm and trained by Neil Drysdale, broke her maiden over Majestic Quality at Del Mar in November, and was most recently third to the males Battle of Midway and Reach the World in a one-mile Santa Anita allowance.

Queen Bernardina, who broke her maiden at Churchill last fall against Valadorna, has done little in three starts since and debuts here for new trainer Bret Calhoun, who also saddles last-out maiden winner Daria’s Angel.