‘She’s Special’: Cox Says Top Filly Taraz Could Step Onto Kentucky Derby Trail

by | 01.16.2020 | 6:18pm
Taraz, with Florent Geroux aboard, wins the 60th running of the Letellier Memorial Stakes at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans, LA.

Should she win the Martha Washington Stakes (February 1) at Oaklawn impressively, trainer Brad Cox has indicated that Juddmonte Farm's homebred three-year-old filly Taraz could tackle the boys in her subsequent start and thus join the Road to the Kentucky Derby (G1) presented by Woodford Reserve.

“Look, she's special,” Cox explained. “Everything has to line up, everything has to go right. The way she trains, she gives you that amount of confidence to think about things like that, bottom line. It's one step at a time, obviously. The Martha Washington and then go from there.”

A 7 ½ length winner in her career debut at Churchill on November 14, the daughter of Into Mischief returned five weeks later to score an even more impressive 11 ¼ length victory over sloppy going in the Letellier Memorial at Fair Grounds. Both of those races were one-turn sprints. A two-turn, short-stretched one mile event restricted to three-year-old fillies, the Martha Washington is a points race on the Road to the Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1) (10-4-2-1).

“It's always exciting when fillies take on the colts,” said Kevin Kerstein, publicity manager, communications and media services for Churchill Downs. “If a really nice filly like Taraz joins the Road to the Kentucky Derby, it would add an intriguing storyline to the lead up to this year's race.”

According to Kerstein, since the system was implemented in 2013, there have been several fillies who have earned points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, including 2018 El Camino Real winner Paved and 2017 UAE Derby (G1) runner-up Rayya. No filly has competed in the Run for the Roses since Devil May Care in 2010 and only three fillies have won the Kentucky Derby – Winning Colors (1988), Genuine Risk (1980) and Regret (1915).

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