Azeri will provide clues as to where Untapable stands

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

March 16th, 2016

Untapable, a brilliant champion at three in 2014, had a good season last year. However, with only one win in six starts, it naturally paled in comparison to the heroics of a sophomore campaign that included wins in the Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1) and Kentucky Oaks (G1).

The Tapit mare is back for more and commences a five-year-old campaign Saturday in the $350,000 Azeri (G2) at Oaklawn Park, where she will face seven rivals over 1 1/16 miles.

In retrospect, the 2015 Azeri was an indication that Untapable would not again rule the filly-and-mare division with an iron fist. Favored at 1-10, Untapable was upended by longshot Gold Medal Dancer by a half-length. Though she made amends for that loss in the Apple Blossom H. (G1), Untapable settled for minor awards in the Ogden Phipps (G1), Shuvee H. (G3), Personal Ensign (G1), and Spinster (G1) to end the season.

The Azeri should again provide great insight as to whether Untapable can climb back near the top of the division this term. She'll be a strong favorite, with Florent Geroux gaining the mount from John Velazquez.

The top three finishers from the February 14 Bayakoa (G3) -- Call Pat, Streamline, and Meshell -- were separated by a less than a length in that 1 1/16-mile heat and return here. It was the first victory for Call Pat since the Groupie Doll (G3) at Ellis Park last August, while Streamline had taken the $100,000 Pippin earlier in the Oaklawn meet. Meshell battled on after relinquishing the lead in what was her two-turn debut.

Sarah Sis, a distant fourth in the Bayakoa, previously captured the Raven Run (G2), Iowa Oaks (G3), and Honeybee (G3) and is capable of better as is High Dollar Woman, unplaced twice since upsetting the Indiana Oaks (G2) in the slop.

The field is rounded out by stakes winners Theogony, runner-up in the Falls City H. (G2) and Pippin prior to a recent fourth in the Houston Ladies Classic (G3), and Kyriaki, fourth in the Santa Maria (G2) at Santa Anita last time.

The $350,000 Razorback H. (G3) features a field of 10 older horses to go 1 1/16 miles. Upstart, who captured last year's Holy Bull (G2) and later placed in the Fountain of Youth (G2), Florida Derby (G1), and Haskell Invitational (G1), makes his four-year-old debut for trainer Rick Violette.

Also lining up are Looks to Spare, who pulled a massive 74-1 upset in a stakes at Mountaineer last summer and later crashed the Clark H. (G1) trifecta at 88-1; 2015 Southwest (G3) winner and recent allowance scorer Far Right; Oklahoma Derby (G3) hero Shotgun Kowboy; Oaklawn mainstay Carve; and recent Essex H. winner La Macchina.

An interesting entrant in the Razorback field is Idolo Porteno, who makes his U.S. debut following his importation from Argentina, where he captured South America's most prestigious event, the Gran Premio Carlos Pellegrini (G1), in December 2014. That was over 12 furlongs on the turf, but Idolo Porteno had previously won a Group 1 over the same distance on dirt.

(Oaklawn Park/Coady Photography)