Serengeti Empress Cruises To Pocahontas Score

Joel Politi’s Serengeti Empress made it look easy in Saturday’s Grade 2 Pocahontas Stakes at Churchill Downs, taking the lead at the start and widening it around the course to cross the wire a winner by 19 1/2 lengths. The juvenile daughter of Alternation, ridden by Corey Lanerie for trainer Tom Amoss, covered 1 1/16 miles over the fast main track in 1:45.47. Serengeti Empress has now won her last two starts, both in stakes company, and earned an expenses-paid berth to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies in November.

“When you have a horse like this, it’s easy to be the passenger,” said Lanerie. “It’s a credit to Tom and his team because this filly has done everything right. When I came back and saw the fractions and how quick we went up front I really couldn’t believe it. That’s when you know you’re sitting on a good horse – when they can travel as quickly as they do without you realizing it.”

Serengeti Empress set solid early quarter-mile fractions of :23.17, :46.94 and 1:12.20 along the way. Southern California invader Splashy Kisses was a distant second with Lightscameraaction another 1 ½ lengths back in third and My Wynter Rose another head back in fourth.

The victory by Serengeti Empress was a record for the Pocahontas and largest winning margin in a stakes race at Churchill Downs since Rachel Alexandra won the 2009 Kentucky Oaks by 20 ¼ lengths.

Serengeti Empress also is the early points-leader on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks after collecting 10 points. The Pocahontas was the first of 30 qualifying races to the Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI) to be run next May, and points were awarded to the Top 4 finishers on a 10-4-2-1 scale.

Serengeti Empress (4-3-0-0—$187,870) paid $3.80, $2.60 and $2.40 as the 4-5 favorite. Splashy Kisses, ridden by Del Mar’s leading rider Drayden Van Dyke, paid $4.20 and $3.60. Lightscameraaction, with Robby Albarado up, paid $6.80 to show.

“We are very excited about this filly, and for obvious reasons,” Amoss said. “We know we have a nice filly and it’s great that the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI) is in our backyard. She’s such a pro with how she handles things in training. We’ll just let her be her until the Breeders’ Cup and I think we’ll be just fine.”

Bred in Kentucky by Tri Eques Bloodstock, Serengeti Empress was a $70,000 yearling purchase at the Keeneland September sale. Prior to that, she hammered for $25,000 as a weanling at Keeneland November. She won at first asking, then came up short at Saratoga before returning to the winner’s circle at Ellis Park. Overall, Serengeti Empress has won three of her four starts for earnings of over $190,000.

The post Serengeti Empress Cruises To Pocahontas Score appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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