Untapable back for four-year old debut at Azeri Stakes

Friday, March 13th, 2015

By  Adam Markowitz

The Azeri Stakes will commence Saturday, March 14, 2015 at 5:25 p.m. ET at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, AR.

Only six are set to take to the track at Oaklawn Park for Saturday's Azeri Stakes, but the fillies and mares in this field definitely make this race worth watching as the undercard for the Rebel Stakes later in the evening.

Untapable is the showcase filly wherever she heads to, and Oaklawn Park isn't going to be an exception to that on Saturday afternoon.

The filly champion won the Breeders' Cup Distaff last October at Santa Anita, but she hasn't been back on the track competitively since that point. Another change she'll have to make is with her mount. Normally, Rosie Napravnik has been riding Untapable, but after she won the Distaff, Napravnik elected to retire. Her final ride was aboard Untapable, and now, this champion four-year old has to find a new rider.

John Velazquez though, isn't a bad replacement. He's a champion in his own right and is one of the go-to jockeys on the horse racing circuit. Velazquez doesn't normally pair up with trainer Steven Asmussen, but in this case, to ride a filly like Untapable, he probably couldn't resist.

The bottom line with Untapable is that she is remarkable. She has won six of her last seven races, winning four of those six by at least 4 1/2 lengths. She hasn't run less than a 96 Beyer Speed Rating since she was a two-year old, and she’s never lost a race which wasn't a Grade 1 event in her career either.

Simply put, Untapable is the one to beat on Saturday at the Azeri Stakes, even if it is the first time she’s ever stepped foot on the track at Oaklawn Park.

Sugar Shock doesn't have the history of Untapable, but she does have the record. The filly has five wins in her 10 starts, including winning four times in five races here at Oaklawn Park.

The concern with Sugar Shock is that she has never run up against these big time fillies.

The rest of this field isn't spectacular, but Sugar Shock has never been nose-to-nose with anything even remotely like Untapable. Perhaps she can rise to the occasion, but she's a tough sell, albeit the best one that we have running up against the great Untapable.

The other horse we'll be keeping a close eye on this weekend is Mufajaah. Again, this isn't really a brand name filly, though she did run in the 8 Belles in May last year, a race which Fiftyshadesofhay was in one of her finest hours.

Mufajaah though, has been hot. She won her first two races this year with Emmanuel Esquivel - a relatively unknown jockey - on her back, including beating Flashy American and Gold Medal Dancer, both of which are in this field as well, in the Bayakoa Stakes last month.

The one thing that Mufajaah has going against her though, is that she runs the same style as Untapable. Both of these fillies are going to be off the pace by quite a bit, and when they turn it loose into the back turn, it's tough to see anyone catching Untapable.

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