09/16/2017 7:45PM

Patrona Margarita rolls to Pocahontas upset

Email
Coady Photograpy
Patrona Margarita returned $49.60 for her upset victory in Saturday's Grade 2 Pocahontas Stakes.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A little over an hour after being unseated when Ivy Bell clipped heels and stumbled in midstretch of the Open Mind Stakes, jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. was in a far more comfortable and familiar position at Churchill Downs: the winner’s circle.

Hernandez piloted his fourth winner of the day in the Grade 2, $200,000 Pocahontas Stakes, circling the field aboard 23-1 longshot Patrona Margarita as the filly rolled to a 3 3/4-length score in the 1 1/16-mile test for 2-year-old fillies.

The victory earned the Bret Calhoun-trained Patrona Margarita a Win and You’re In berth to the Nov. 4 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Del Mar, though her participation there seems doubtful. She is not Breeders’ Cup eligible and running would require a $200,000 supplement.

Still, other opportunities lie down the road. In victory she also earned a paid-berth in the Grade 2, $200,000 Golden Rod at Churchill Downs on Nov. 25, and also secured 10 qualifying points for next year’s Kentucky Oaks, a race owner and breeder Craig Upham was thinking about the most in the euphoria following her victory Saturday.

“I told [Bret] all along that I wanted to look at the Oaks after her first win,” Upham said. “That’s what we’re going to point her to.”

As for Hernandez, the victory left him feeling better after understandable soreness following his tumble in the Open Mind.

He was encouraged by how Patrona Margarita handled stretching out to a route in the Pocahontas. “The good thing about her today was she was actually lengthening them under the wire, which is always important with these 2-year-olds,” he said.

What Patrona Margarita didn’t do was run quickly. Her time for the distance was 1:46.35, .85 of a second slower than The Tabulator’s 1:45.50 clocking in winning the Iroquois for 2-year-old males a race earlier. She paid $49.60.

Grabbing second in the Pocahontas was Kelly’s Humor, who edged third-place Sunny Skies by a neck. Those two, along with Patrona Margarita, came from well off the relatively soft pace of 48.83 seconds and 1:14.45 established by longshot Primo Extremo, who lasted for fourth.

The winner became the second graded stakes winner out of her dam, Margarita Mistress. A Texas-bred by Special Rate, Patrona Margarita is a half-sister to millionaire and two-time Grade 3 winner Texas Chrome.