Letruska sticks to plan and wins personal ensign in Saratoga


SARATOGA SPRINGS – Form held in Grade I, $ 600,000 Staff Ensign on Saturdays at Saratoga Racecourse. Just as she did on four other tracks across the country, Letruska, the 3-5 favorite, set the pace, the race and won by half a length.

Bred and bred by Mexican billionaire Germán Larrea Mota-Velasco, who operates under the name St. George Stable, the 5-year-old mare further strengthened her position as the country’s best older hen with her fifth win in six starts this season. . It was his 16th career victory in 21 races in Mexico and the United States and earned him a spot in the Distaff Breeders’ Cup.

Starting from sixth in the field of nine, Letruska and jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. broke well, went straight to the front with Miss Marissa applying some pressure and spun in first fractions of 23.01 seconds. for the opening quarter-mile, 46.74 for the half, and 1: 10.76 for six stages in the 1 1/8 mile race. Bonny South and Royal Flag rallied in stride, but were unable to catch up with Kentucky Derby winner’s daughter, Super Saver.

“The first part of the race was very important. We are taking the lead and taking control, ”said coach Fausto Gutierrez. “It was 46 (seconds, for the half mile) and I think today was a good fraction. Of course, after that, at the end of the race, she had to give a little extra and she had to give. In races like this, the important thing is to win, right? It was not an easy race at this level. I am very happy because this is a race that we have included in the program.

Mission accomplished for Letruska, who finished in 1: 49.15 and paid $ 3.50 to win.

Letruska has competed in the United States since defeating men at the Copa Invatacional del Caribe held at Gulfstream Park in December 2019. She won four of seven races last year, including the Grade III Shuvee in Saratoga. This season, she fought in the Grade III Houston Ladies Classic Stakes at Sam Houston Park and lost a lead in the Grade II Azeri at Oaklawn Park.

Four weeks after that loss, with Irad Ortiz Jr. for the first time, she upset 2020 division champions Monomoy Girl and Swiss Skydiver during the Grade I Apple Blossom on April 17. Since that triumph, she has won the Grade I Ogden Phipps, beating Bonny South by 2 3/4 lengths, and the Grade II Fleur de Lis.

“He’s a special horse. I am very excited and happy for the coach, Fausto Gutierrez, ”said Ortiz. “He did a great job with her. She’s very well. She does all the hard work, I just pilot her. It is easy to drive.

Ortiz said that in the Apple Blossom, she showed her courage, leaving after losing her mind.

“We always knew she was a nice filly, but she loves to fight,” he said. “She’s a fighter.

Bonny South was 23-1 in betting after an unusually poor performance as a favorite in the Grade II Delaware Handicap. Seventh and about half a dozen lengths over six stages, the filly from Juddmonte Farms ran in the last half mile.

“It was a big effort. I’m proud of her, ”said coach Brad Cox. “We have the setup that I thought we would have, but this leading mare is really good. She is special. Our filly had a great race. We are getting closer to her.

Gutierrez said there were moments of anxiety in the footage as the closures came after Letruska.

“He’s a (Grade) I and they’re very good horses and have good form,” he said. “She doesn’t have anything to show anyone. I’m very happy with the way she runs. Every place she’s running, with all the horses she runs against, she’s fast, she fights and that’s a real racehorse.

Letruska’s core strength is obvious, Gutierrez said, but difficult to measure.

“She has abilities, but on top of that she has a big heart,” he said. “This horse is a special horse. To have this speed and be able to run long distances you have to have a strong heart. She has that. Not for nothing, I think he is one of the best horses in the country.”

Mike Kane is a freelance writer.

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