03/30/2013 5:16PM

Fair Grounds Oaks victory keeps Unlimited Budget unbeaten

Hodges Photography/Jamie Hernandez
Unlimited Budget pulls away from a game Flashy Gray to win the Fair Grounds Oaks and remain unbeaten.

NEW ORLEANS – Unlimited Budget gave trainer Todd Pletcher a sweep of the nation’s Kentucky Oaks preps on Saturday when she remained unbeaten with a thoroughly professional victory here in the Grade 2, $500,000 Fair Grounds Oaks.

Earlier in the day, Dreaming of Julia was an overpowering winner of the Gulfstream Oaks for Pletcher. Both races are worth 100 points to the winner under the system put in place by Churchill Downs to determine eligibility to the May 3 Kentucky Oaks, and those points are more than enough to put both in the maximum 14-horse field.

Unlimited Budget ($3.80), under Javier Castellano, finished 1 3/4 lengths in front of a stubborn Flashy Gray, who pressed the pace of So Many Ways. Flashy Gray gallantly tried to fight off Unlimited Budget, who stalked the two leaders while in third, three paths wide, for the first six furlongs of the 1 1/16-mile race.

Unlimited Budget was always going best, but Flashy Gray did not go down without a fight. Flashy Gray’s rider, Junior Alvarado, lost his whip just outside the furlong pole.

Flashy Gray finished 2 1/4 lengths in front of third-place Seaneen Girl, who ran well in her first start since November. Promise Me More was fourth and was followed, in order, by So Many Ways, Blue Violet, and Ante Up Annie.

Unlimited Budget completed 1 1/16 miles on the fast main track in 1:43.22. She has won all four of her starts, including the Grade 3 Rachel Alexandra here last month and the Grade 2 Demoiselle last November at Aqueduct.

“I thought it went more or less like we thought,” Pletcher said at Gulfstream. “I thought she ran really well. I thought both her races at Fair Grounds were very impressive.

“She’s a very good filly in her own right,” Pletcher said, referencing Unlimited Budget in comparison to the clamor created by Dreaming of Julia at Gulfstream. “She’s 4 for 4. It’s hard to knock anything she’s done.”

Mike Repole owns Unlimited Budget, a daughter of Street Sense. Pletcher remained at Gulfstream on Saturday, so assistant Whit Beckman saddled Unlimited Budget.

- additional reporting by David Grening