June 22, 2024

Letruska runs rivals off their feet, earns Breeders’ Cup berth in Ogden Phipps

Letruska wins the Ogden Phipps Stakes (Elsa Lorieul/Coglianese Photos)

Letruska was left on an easy lead in Saturday’s $480,000 Ogden Phipps S. (G1) and proceeded to make her rivals pay in the “Win & You’re In” qualifier for the Nov. 6 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) at Del Mar.

Sent to the front by Jose Ortiz after an alert break, Letruska held a half-length lead over Shedaresthedevil through a quarter in :23.49 and a half in :46.76, and then kicked clear of that rival around the far turn.

“I was able to put her on the lead and make the other horses chase me,” said Ortiz, who was inheriting another winning stakes mount from his injured brother, Irad, after his original mount, Swiss Skydiver, was scratched. “(Shedaresthedevil) couldn’t keep up with me by the three-eighths pole. When I looked back and saw her three lengths behind me, I was very happy.”

Opening up a commanding lead of five lengths in the stretch, Letruska comfortably passed the wire 2 3/4 lengths clear of Bonny South, who had a length on stablemate Shedaresthedevil. Queen Nekia and Water White were a distant fourth and fifth, respectively.

A homebred racing for St George Stable and trained by Fausto Gutierrez, Letruska returned $4.40 as the 6-5 favorite. She ran 1 1/16 miles over a fast track in 1:41.25.

With two-time champion Monomoy Girl sidelined, Letruska has emerged as the country’s leading older mare. Kicking off her 2021 campaign with a 3 1/2-length win in the Houston Ladies Classic (G3), Letruska went down to Shedaresthedevil by a head in the Azeri (G2), but rebounded to take Apple Blossom H. (G1) by a nose over Monomoy Girl while in receipt of six pounds.

“Today, she confirmed what we saw in the Apple Blossom,” Gutierrez said. “She’s progressed with age and taking the blinkers off. She ran like a big horse. When she would run on the lead, she never saw the other horses. She has improved so much more. She has this class to her. She really likes to run.

“Now we need to focus on the Breeders’ Cup with the form that we have. These races are really tough. We’ll check how she does. She’s a very sound filly and I hope she continues like this.”

A champion in Mexico at age three, Letruska won three stakes in her first full U.S. campaign last season, including the Shuvee (G3) and Rampart (G3). Her record now stands at 19-14-1-1, $1,432,319.

Bred in Kentucky, Letruska is by Super Saver and out of the stakes-placed Successful Appeal mare Magic Appeal, a full sister to Grade 1 winner J P’s Gusto. Letruska is herself a half-sister to the Grade 1-placed stakes winner Trigger Warning. This female family is also responsible for 2008 champion three-year-old filly Proud Spell.