by Tommy Raymond
Bradley Thoroughbreds, Whispering Oaks Farm, Team Hanley, Tim and Anna Cambron and Madaket Stables’ She’s a Julie raced in midpack for most of Friday’s $500,000 La Troienne Stakes (G1) at Churchill Downs before seizing the initiative over Secret Spice and earning a hard-fought, half-length score. The race marked the second graded victory this year in as many starts for the Steven Asmussen trainee.
Awe Emma led the field of nine distaffers over the Churchill fast track through a quarter in :24.01 and a half in :47.92 before being overtaken by Secret Spice. The latter then had a head advantage past six furlongs in 1:12.05 and a mile in 1:36.96. All along, however, She’s a Julie, with Ricardo Santana Jr. in the irons, bided her time on the inside before making a move of her own. Santana sent the bay filly out in midstretch, took the lead for good from a gritty Secret Spice inside the final sixteenth and crossed the line for the 1 1/16-mile event in 1:43.58.
Secret Spice, coming off a Grade 1 score of her own out in California, easily proved second best over Blue Prize, who in turn was followed past the wire by Mopotism, the pacesetter Awe Emma, Viva Forever, Chocolate Martini, Divine Miss Grey and Teresa Z. Golden Award was scratched.
Santana wasn’t overly concerned as the race developed.
“I had plenty of horse at the three-eighths (pole),” the winning rider explained. “I had a little patience for a hole to open. A hole opened really well and when I asked her she gave me a really nice run.”
Friday’s victory improved She’s a Julie’s record to 13-6-2-1 and earnings to $878,130. The four-year-old daughter of Elusive Quality also has wins in the Remington Park Oaks (G3), Bayakoa Stakes (G3) and Iowa Oaks (G3) to go along with a runner-up in the historic Alabama Stakes (G1).
Bred in Kentucky by Godolphin, She’s a Julie was acquired for $160,000 as a 2016 Keeneland September yearling. She is out the winning Dubai Millennium mare Kydd Gloves. One horse of note from She’s a Julie’s female family is Arkansas Derby (G1) winner and dual classic-placed Bodemeister.