Atras Hopes CCA Oaks Winner Maracuja Can Be ‘More Tactical’ In Alabama

Trainer Rob Atras said Beach Haven Thoroughbreds’ Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks-winner Maracuja is training well into her next engagement – the 10-furlong Grade 1, $600,000 Alabama on Aug. 21 at the Spa.

The Honor Code gray posted a swift half-mile breeze in 47.67 seconds Sunday in company on the main track in her first work back since upsetting Malathaat in the nine-furlong CCA Oaks on July 24.

“She went a little quicker than I thought, visually,” Atras said. “She broke off a little quick and was rolling along and galloped out real nice. I never get too concerned about the time, but she did it well within herself. That’s all that matters to me.”

A $200,000 purchase at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Select Yearling Sale, Maracuja graduated at third asking in a 6 1/2-furlong maiden sprint in February at Aqueduct Racetrack and followed with a closing second in the Grade 3 Gazelle in April, finishing 2 3/4-lengths back of Search Results.

Maracuja exited post 2 in a 13-horse field in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks in April at Churchill Downs and closed up the rail for seventh in a race won by Malathaat by a neck over Search Results.

Last out, in a compact field of four, Maracuja tracked closer to the pace in third under Ricardo Santana, Jr., and battled gamely to the wire to best Malathaat by a head.

“She broke so sharp in the last race and we were hoping for that,” Atras said. “We were hoping she could be a little more tactical. That would definitely be an advantage to her going forward.

“I knew you could throw the Oaks out and she was capable of better,” Atras added. “I thought if she took a step forward from the Gazelle she could be a contender, if not for the win, then for second. She definitely took a big step forward last time. Right out of the gate, she showed that she was live that day.”

The probable field for the Alabama includes Army Wife (Mike Maker), Clairiere (Steve Asmussen), Crazy Beautiful (Kenny McPeek), Malathaat (Todd Pletcher), Played Hard (Phil Bauer) and Will’s Secret (Dallas Stewart).

Atras said Dennis Narlinger’s graded stakes placed Sadie Lady, who worked a half-mile in 48.11 Sunday on the main track, is slated to make her next start in the $100,000 Union Avenue, a 6 1/2-furlong main track sprint for New York-bred fillies and mares 3-years-old and up.

“She’s doing well,” Atras said. “It was a good work and she’s on target for that race.”

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