Letruska reached the top of its division in the direction of Personal Ensign
When coach Fausto Gutierrez says Letruska “got better, better and better” it sounds like a simple statement of enthusiasm.
Then you look at his race record, and it’s actually pretty accurate, from an “improved” count.
The first wave arrived in Gutierrez’s native Mexico, where the daughter of the 2010 Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver went from a first 6-3 / 4 victory through the allocation ranks to back-to-back Group 1 wins. by a total of 23 1/2 lengths. With a perfect record of six starts in Mexico, it was time for bigger things.
The second wave was a much more bumpy race, but after arriving at Saratoga racetrack last summer, Letruska became a stakes winner in the United States, winning the Grade III Shuvee.
If the Shuvee was a decisive race, 2021 was a decisive season for Letruska, who won four of five starts, all in graduated stakes, with back-to-back grade I wins.
She rides this wave in the Grade I Personal Ensign as part of Saturday’s Travers Day undercard. In his five races in 2021, Letruska beat champions like Monomoy Girl and Swiss Skydiver, and came back from his only loss of the year, by a header at Shedaresthedevil in Azeri, to finish 3 3/4 lengths of Shedaresthedevil’s lead in the $ 1 million Ogden Phipps at Belmont Park.
“Definitely, this horse is now very different from last year. I don’t like when people ask me, ‘And now she goes to the [breeding stock] sale in November? ‘ Gutierrez said with a laugh. “She just started running, why do you want to send her for sale?”
For a 5-year-old mare who “just started racing”, Letruska has won 15 of 20 career starts, including the 6 for 6 in Mexico in 2018 and 2019.
Of its $ 1,616,459 in gains in 14 US housing starts, it accounted for $ 1,305,540 in 2021, bolstered by the Ogden Phipps winner’s share of $ 6,000,000.
She currently sits second behind the Pegasus World Cup and Whitney winner Knicks Go in the NTRA National Weekly Thoroughbred Rankings.
Letruska’s style is simply to quickly get out of the gate and knock opponents off their feet every step of the way, and Gutierrez made a discovery in Saratoga last year – aided by the scorching Empress of the Serengeti – that Letruska perhaps would be. be better suited to apply this style to longer races instead of trying to be a sprinter.
In the seven-stage Grade I ballerina, Letruska and jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. tried to stay with Serengeti Empress early on and burned themselves out, falling back to fifth place by 6 1/2 lengths. Letruska ran a mile and a sixteenth four times this year and a mile and an eighth, the Personal Ensign distance, in her last start, which she won by 5 3/4 lengths in the Grade II Fleur de Lis at Churchill Downs on June 26.
“She ran with Serengeti Empress, who is very fast,” said Gutierrez. “That day she bled [from the lungs], too much. I have so many mistakes for this race, but anyway. And Santana told me that to go 21 [seconds for the first quarter-mile] and 43 or something like that [for the half] … ‘I can move more.’ But what do you want, 42 years old?
“But ultimately, it’s speed over long distances. It’s perfect. This is the conclusion I have. A mile and an eighth is good, and a mile and a quarter is better too. Because that rhythm she’s got is hard to keep up with, you know? It’s not important to go 22 or 23 or the fractions.
Gutierrez and the owner of Letruska, St. George Stable, are dominant forces in Mexico.
Gutierrez started moving some of his horses to Gulfstream Park in Florida a few years ago, but only ventured to Saratoga last year, and only with Letruska for the Ballerina and Mile and an Eighth Shuvee, that she won the front of a length over the royal flag.
The coach saddled his third Saratoga starter on Thursday, winning a claimable race with Vegas Weekend, which was later claimed at Gutierrez by Rob Atras.
The stakes will be considerably higher in Saturday’s Personal Ensign.
“Because it’s something that I saw a long time ago when I was very young, it’s special to watch the races in Saratoga and the horses that race here,” he said. “It’s a difficult class, with the quality of the horses. When you compare the program between Saratoga and Del Mar… OK, they have big stakes, but even the normal allowance or the claim prices here are very special. It is not something new.
Under the guidance of jockey Irad Ortiz Jr., Letruska completed five stages in 59.02 on Saturday, the fastest of 18 main track jobs that day.
“Normally she is a horse that likes to work fast, and she did a good job today,” said Gutierrez. “The idea was to feel full of a horse, and it’s a horse that’s ready to run.”
MALATHAAT RIGHT TO DISTAFF
Coach Todd Pletcher said Sunday morning that Alabama winner Malathaat would likely train until the Distaff Breeders’ Cup on November 6 in Del Mar instead of looking for a race in between.
“Nothing is set in stone, but that’s sort of the plan we discussed with [Shadwell racing manager] Rick Nichols awhile ago, ”he told the New York Racing Association.
Malathaat rebounded from a narrow and grueling loss in Grade I Coaching Club American Oaks to win Alabama convincingly, a length and a half over Clairiere.
“It was a very, very strong performance,” Pletcher said. “She looks good this morning.”
MIDNIGHT BREEZE BOURBON
While most of Travers’ hopes kicked off on Saturday, Midnight Bourbon came out on Sunday and completed a half mile in 49.60 on the Oklahoma practice track.
He hasn’t won since the six Grade III Lecomte starts, but was at the heart of the event in the Preakness, finishing second and in his last start, when Hot Rod Charlie cut his heels with Midnight Bourbon in the stretch. and jockey Paco Lopez fell from the colt trained by Steve Asmussen.
After a tight second place at Royal Flag in the Shuvee, Junior watchmaker and jockey Alvarado played with the pitch and won Sunday’s feature, the $ 120,000 Summer Colony for One Mile Fillies and Mares and an eighth on the wet main track, by 8 1/2 lengths.
“She had traffic problems in two races,” said coach Bill Mott. “She was inside and stuck in there the last two races. We let her bounce back and do her thing without getting in the way. I think we stopped her from winning a few times. A victory is good for everyone.
“It was simple,” Alvarado said. “I rode her like the best horse, and she showed it there. Once she got in her head, she took me around.
Mott said they would watch the Beldame at Belmont Park for Horologist’s next departure.
TRIP TO TORONTO
Jockeys Irad Ortiz Jr. and Dylan Davis lost their luggage in Toronto, but still won Stakes races on a big day at Woodbine, using gear and gear borrowed from the Rider Colony of Woodbine.
Leaving Saratoga to ride on the Queen’s Plate, Ortiz won the main event aboard Phil Serpe’s Safe Conduct, narrowly fending off Riptide Rock in the first leg of the Canadian Triple Crown. The Queen’s Plate, which is usually held in June, was held with a 50% capacity approved for Woodbine fans.
Davis won the Grade II Dance Smartly aboard Mutamakina for trainer Christophe Clement.
Ortiz was on Caravel, which took victory in the Saratoga Caress, for the Grade I Highlander, but she finished third.
AROUND THE SLOPES
The Tripoli formed by John Sadler, making just the second start of their 14-race career, passed Tizamagician to win the $ 1 million Grade I Pacific Classic at Del Mar on Saturday night.
Dr Post, the 2020 Belmont Stakes finalist at Tiz the Law, was third.
Monmouth Park in Oceanport, New Jersey, has canceled its Sunday card due to the potential impact of Tropical Storm Henri.
More from The Daily Gazette: