Patrona Margarita Wins at 23-1 Odds but She’s Not Eligible for Breeders’ Cup
Two-year-olds are always a little tricky when handicapping the horse races, and Saturday’s ‘Win and You’re In’ Breeders’ Cup prep at Churchill Downs proved again why Juveniles can be more unpredictable. Patrona Margarita was sent off at 23-1 odds in a field of 12 fillies, but she didn’t look a bit out of place. In fact, she took commanding control just outside the eighth pole and cruised home to a nearly 4-length win for her second victory in four starts.
Patrona Margarita won her maiden at Churchill Downs on June 9, and then finished 8th and 3rd in her next two starts. But improvement comes quickly for many 2-year-olds, and Patrona Margarita had been training beautifully in August and September leading up to the $200,000 Grade II Pocahontas.
Patrona Margarita tracked the speed just behind horses on the backstretch, and then moved up quickly outside on the far turn. From there it was nearly no contest, and she took command down the stretch and drew away in the final stages by 3 ¾ lengths. Kelly’s Humor ($6.80, $4.80) rallied down the lane and was up for place by a neck over Sunny Skies ($4.00) who finished 3rd, and long shot pacesetter Primo Extremo (39-1) was 4th to set off a $1 superfecta payoff of $17,123.90.
Ridden by jockey Brian Hernandez, Patrona Margarita covered 1 1/16 miles over a fast track in 1:46.35 and returned $49.60, $22.00 and $9.40. A $2 exacta paid $325.60 and a $2 trifecta hit for $1,653.
“Her works have been really impressive over this racetrack,” Hernandez said. “She really stepped up today and showed us what she’s made of. We tracked the speed just behind horses. With 2-year-olds you never know how they will respond passing horses and you have to feel good the way she was able to win this race today.”
Hernandez was in good spirits after winning four races at Churchill Downs Saturday. However, his condition was being monitored after taking a spill aboard Ivy Bell along the rail in Race 9.
Patrona Margarita’s trainer Bret Calhoun says she’s not Breeders’ Cup eligible and will be pointed towards the Alcibiades (G1) on Oct. 6 at Keeneland. Patrona Margarita would have to be nominated to run in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.
The Pocahontas Stakes was also a ‘Road to the Kentucky Oaks’ prep race, so Patrona Margarita earned 10 Oaks qualifying points while the other three finishers earned 4-2-1 points.
Churchill Down’s other Breeders’ Cup and Kentucky Derby prep race on Saturday was the $150,000 Iroquois Stakes, which was won by The Tabulator. He earned an entry to the $2 million Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Nov. 4 at Del Mar for trainer Larry Rivelli and his team.