LEXINGTON, Ky. – St. George Stable’s homebred Letruska lived up to her lofty billing as the top mare in the country by posting a front-running 1¾-length victory in the 66th running of the $500,000 Juddmonte Spinster (G1) for fillies and mares Sunday afternoon.
The victory is the fourth in a Breeders’ Cup Challenge race this year for Letruska, who has a fees-paid berth into the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) to be run Nov. 6 at Del Mar. Also earning Breeders’ Cup berths Sunday were Tiz the Bomb in the Castle & Key Bourbon (G2) for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) and Averly Jane in the Indian Summer (L) Presented by Keeneland Select for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2).
Trained by Fausto Gutierrez and ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., Letruska covered the 1 1/8 miles on a fast main track in 1:49.01. For Gutierrez, it is his first Keeneland stakes victory and the ninth for Ortiz, who also won the Juddmonte Spinster in 2015 on Got Lucky.
“This is a horse to change the life of any person. She’s a superstar and she proves (it) every second, every race. She shows her game, her ability at Churchill, at Oaklawn, at Saratoga. She’s a racehorse,” Fausto remarked.
On having a short-priced favorite going into the Breeders’ Cup: “She right now is one of the top contenders of the division. For her to win (this) Win and You’re In (race) for the Breeders’ Cup … What can I tell you? This is a strong year for this horse.”
Letruska quickly established a daylight advantage on her rivals while cutting out fractions of :24, :47.89 and 1:12.52. She never was challenged in the run to the finish to win for the sixth time in seven starts in 2021 and notch her fourth Grade 1 victory of the year.
“She’s doing so good right now. I think she has great condition, a good trainer. She’s doing unbelievable right now. She was just moving smooth out there. She didn’t go that fast today, but she did it easy, relaxed, and whenever I asked her she was there for me,” Ortiz, Jr., recounted.
A 5-year-old Kentucky-bred daughter of Super Saver out of the Successful Appeal mare Magic Appeal, Letruska added $300,000 to her bankroll and increased her earnings to $2,236,459 with a record of 22-17-1-1.
Letruska returned $2.80, $2.10 and $2.10. Dunbar Road, who rallied for second under Flavien Prat, returned $3.40 and $2.20 and finished 2¼ lengths ahead of Bonny South, who paid $2.40 to show under Florent Geroux.
“We had a good trip. She was traveling well, and I made a good move. I thought turning for home that she responded really well and maybe I could catch her (Letruska). From my position, I was expecting somebody to soften it (the pace) up a little bit because I come from behind, but she had a good trip,” Prat remarked.
Brad Cox, trainer of Bonny South, talked about his future plans for the filly. “Breeders’ Cup is still on the table. We will talk it over with Garrett (O’Rourke, General Manager for owner Juddmonte Farms) and come up with a game plan. I thought she ran really well. We know our filly needs (a faster) pace to run at, but she closed well. I was extremely happy with Bonny South’s effort.”
It was another 2½ lengths back to Crystal Ball in fourth with Envoutante and Town Avenger following in order.
Click here for a replay of the Juddmonte Spinster and the post-race interview with winning connections.
Racing resumes Wednesday with an eight-race program beginning at 1 p.m. ET that is highlighted by the JPMorgan Chase Jessamine (G2) for 2-year-old fillies. The stakes is a “Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) to be run Nov. 5 at Del Mar.
For info on the Best Breeders’ Cup Seminar click HERE.
Keeneland Press Release
Photo: Letruska (Keeneland/Coady Photography)