Serengeti Empress put on a show with an impressive 4-1/2 length, wire to wire victory in the $200,000 Grade 2 Rachel Alexander Stakes at the Fair Grounds on Saturday. Sent right to the lead by James Graham, Serengeti Empress was extremely comfortable while carving out a slow early 1/4 mile of 24.02, while Mota Bella and Liora vied for the second and third spots, and Street Band saved ground on the rail in fourth. As they entered the far turn, Street Band was switched to the outside by Sophie Doyle and made a mild bid at the leader but faded and finished fourth. Liora came back again to gain a clear second at 23/1, while 25/1 shot Eres Tu ran third.
Trainer Tom Amoss was more than pleased with the ride and performance. “James did a great job slowing down the pace,” he said. “Particularly around the 3/8 pole, I could tell he was really slowing it down to save his energy and nobody challenged at that point. I knew she’d be tough to beat from there on home.”
Sent off as the 9/5 favorite, Serengeti Empress returned $5.80 to win and completed the 1-1/16 miles in 1:44.74. She earned 50 points with the win towards a spot in the May 3, Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs.
Bred in Kentucky, Serengeti Empress was a $70,000 yearling purchase and now boasts a 4/6 career record with earnings of $327,870.