Homeracing

Who Is the greatest Pocahontas Stakes winner?

Profile Picture: Nicolle Neulist

September 14th, 2021

It's September, and the season for Kentucky Derby (G1) and Kentucky Oaks (G1) points is upon us!

One of those early points races is the Pocahontas S. (G3), a dirt route at Churchill Downs that gives two-year-old fillies their first chance to earn their way toward the 2022 Kentucky Oaks.

But, before we look to the future, let's take a look back at some of the race's best.

Get to know the Pocahontas winners who made the most impact, and then tell us — who is the greatest winner of the Pocahontas?

Epitome

It took a while for Epitome to find the winners' circle. She didn't graduate until the fifth start of her two-year-old season, a maiden race at Keeneland in October of 1987. But, from there, she was very good.

She came in second, behind the undefeated Terra Incognita in the Alcibiades S. (G2), just 11 days after her maiden victory, then won the Pocahontas the next month.

It was enough for her to take a shot in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1). Jeanne Jones looked home free midstretch, but Epitome sustained a rally up the fence, switched out to engage Jeanne Jones late, and nipped her by a nose.

That was enough to secure not champion two-year-old filly.

Epitome won two of her six starts at age three, both in allowance company, and finished her career with a second in the Falls City H. (G3), behind Top Corsage.

Pure Clan

There is always something compelling about a multi-surface star.

Pure Clan started her career on the turf, where she broke her maiden on debut in a turf sprint and then romped in a mile grass allowance. She looked just as good when she switched to dirt for the 2007 Pocahontas and won by 1 1/4 lengths, at 10-1, despite some trip trouble. Pure Clan capped an undefeated juvenile season with a victory in the Golden Rod S. (G2), as she drove two lengths clear in the final sixteenth.

She started her three-year-old year on dirt and finished third, behind Proud Spell, in the Kentucky Oaks.

Pure Clan switched back to grass and performed in elite company for the rest of her career. She won the American Oaks (G1) at three and the Flower Bowl S. (G1) at four.

She finished her four-year-old year (and her career) with a second, behind Midday, in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1).

Serengeti Empress

As the saying goes, a good horse can come from anywhere. Those who decided to spend July 4, 2018 at Indiana Grand were treated to a future star — Serengeti Empress.

On the way to the Kentucky Oaks, she enjoyed some blowout successes — a 13 1/2-length win in the Ellis Park Debutante, a 19 1/2-length victory in the Pocahontas, and a 4 1/2-length score in the Rachel Alexandra S. (G2).

But, after she came in a well-beaten seventh in the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2), some wondered whether she would bounce back in May.

On Kentucky Oaks Day, she got to the front, turned back Liora in midstretch, and kept on to win by 1 3/4 lengths. Serengeti Empress remained a top horse through her three- and four-year-old years, versatile enough to run with the best at one turn or two.

Untapable

Untapable was a very good two-year-old. She won her debut at Churchill Downs, then got up to win the 2013 Pocahontas by a half-length, over the talented Stonetastic. She also finished third over the all-weather in the final Hollywood Starlet S. (G1).

But as the next year cemented, dirt was her home.

In seven starts at age three, she won six. Those wins included a 4 1/2-length romp in the Kentucky Oaks and a confident score in the Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1). Her only loss that year came when she tried males in the Haskell S. (G1). She was the clear choice for champion three-year-old filly.

Though she was not dominant at age four and five, she was still good. She won the Apple Blossom H. (G1) at four and placed in five more graded stakes over that time. 

Weekend Surprise

A precocious daughter of Secretariat, Weekend Surprise won five of her nine starts at age two in 1982, including her debut, the Schuylerville S. (G3), the Pocahontas, and the Golden Rod.

Though she never won another stakes, Weekend Surprise remained competitive. She hit the board in the Black-Eyed Susan S. (G2) at age three and in three Grade 1 races (the La Canada S., the Santa Margarita H., and the Delaware H.) at four.

She was very good on the track, but she became immortal in the breeding shed. A blue hen by even the stingiest definition, she produced breed-shaping sire A. P. Indy, Preakness S. (G1) winner and sire Summer Squall, sires Honor Grades and Tiger Ridge, and the important broodmare Weekend Storm.

Who is the greatest winner of the Pocahontas?


Turning back to last week, we asked you the most impressive summer winner, from some of the major races at Saratoga and Del Mar.

It was a tight decision, but with 37% of the vote, Flightline's allowance blowout at Del Mar took the crown! Just behind, with 32%, was Jackie's Warrior and his blistering score in the Amsterdam S. (G2).

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