Abel Tasman

Abel Tasman

Three-time Grade 1 winner Abel Tasman is one tough girl. But, considering how her life started, she's had to be.

“She was a very long-legged foal, and [right before birth] she put a foot through the mare's uterus. There was nothing we could do for (her dam, Vargas Girl),” said Barry Robinette, farm manager for Clearsky Farms, who bred the filly. “Dr. Canterbury and Dr. Wells from Hagyard Equine Medical Institute came to the farm, and by doing a c-section with my son Mason's help, we were able to save the foal.

“We got her into the farm truck and made a dash for the hospital, with my wife Lois in the backseat trying to hold the foal down.”

Abel Tasman turned out to be fine and was quickly put on a nursemare. “She never looked back,” said Robinette.

She's rarely looked back since making the races either. The 3-year-old filly by Quality Road has won five of her eight lifetime starts along and has run second twice. Her only off-the-board finish came in her first start.

After winning in her second attempt, she then won an allowance race. From there, she nabbed the G1 Starlet Stakes at Los Alamitos to close her out her 2-year-old campaign.

Abel Tasman began the year finishing was second in a pair of graded stakes at Santa Anita, before putting on her best performance yet under the Twin Spires at Churchill Downs. In the Kentucky Oaks, Abel Tasman was last of 14 in the early going, trailing the field through the half. She still had only four fillies beat at the three-quarters, but was getting in gear on the outside for Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith. Once she nabbed the lead at the head of the stretch, it was all clear sailing.

She trailed again in her next start, the G1 Acorn Stakes on Belmont Day, but took the inside track rather than the overland route in the Acorn. The filly was last of seven through the first half in the one mile stakes, as far out as five-wide, then came back toward the rail on the turn. When a sliver of daylight opened on the rail, Abel Tasman willing dove through it and took the lead.

The Bob Baffert trainee has earnings of just under $1.3 million for owners China Horse Club and Clearsky Farms.

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