Farrell was more than up for the challenge against favorite Valadorna in the Rachel Alexandra Stakes for 3-year-old fillies Saturday at the Fair Grounds.
Farrell led from gate to wire, pulling away when Valadorna made a big move past rivals in the stretch. It was Farrell's third consecutive win.
“We wanted to take the lead from the start,” trainer Wayne Catalano said. “If somebody came with us, we would lay off of them. But the way she looked training, we are not surprised at her performance in this race.”
Farrell won by 3½ lengths over Majestic Quality, with Valadorna a neck back in third. The victory was worth 50 points in the standings for the Kentucky Oaks, assuring Farrell will be in it.
Farrell won the Silverbulletday on a sloppy track Jan. 21 at the Fair Grounds. Before that, she had a dominant Thanksgiving win in the Golden Rod Stakes at Churchill Downs.
“I've been telling everybody that this filly is the real deal,” jockey Channing Hill said. “She broke really well today and was good through the turn. She let herself take a deep breath as soon as I made the lead. I knew they weren't catching her.”
Next up is the $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks on April 1.
FAIR GROUNDS HANDICAP: Enterprising outshined two other Michael Maker-trained horses to win the $125,000 race for 4-year-olds and up.
Enterprising ran past Oscar Nominated, the 8-5 betting favorite also trained by Maker, in mid-stretch. Oscar Nominated finished three-fourths of a length back in second, with One Mean Man third. Granny's Kitten, which had won the Colonel E.R. Bradley Stakes on Jan. 21 and is trained by Maker, was fifth.
MINESHAFT STAKES: Honorable Duty, with Julien Leparoux up, surged into third just before the turn for home, took the lead early in the stretch and then held off International Star to win the $125,000 race for 4-year-olds and up.
International Star was a half-length behind in second, with Dazzling Gem a neck back in third. Eagle, the 5-2 favorite, was fourth after going wide into the stretch and then flattening out.
Mo Tom, owned by Saints owner Tom Benson and a Kentucky Derby participant last year, finished sixth.