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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Friday, May 6, 2016) – Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners’ Curalina, making her first start since finishing third in the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (GI), took command at the head of the stretch and drew off to post a 7 1/2-length victory over Engaginglee to win the 31st running of the $300,000 La Troienne Presented by Spirited Funds (GI) for fillies and mares.
Trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by John Velazquez, Curalina covered the 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:42.45. It was the third victory in the La Troienne for Pletcher, who won with Authenticity in 2013 and Oonagh Maccool (IRE) in 2006. Velazquez’s victory was his second, having won in 2013 with Authenticity.
Angela Renee led the field of six through fractions of :24.44, :48.38 and 1:12.36 with Curalina in closest pursuit. Turning for home, Curalina collared the leader and quickly pulled away.
The victory was worth $184,140 and increased Curalina’s earnings to $1,190,940 with a record of 9-5-2-2. It was the third Grade I victory for Curalina who won the Acorn and Coaching Club of America Oaks in 2015.
Curalina is a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred daughter of Curlin out of the Graeme Hall mare Whatdreamsrmadeof.
Curalina returned $6.60, $4.40 and $2.40. Engaginglee, ridden by Corey Lanerie, returned $13.20 and $3.80 in finishing a head in front of favored Sheer Drama who paid $2.10 to show under Joe Bravo.
It was another 1 ¾ lengths back to Angela Renee in fourth. She was followed in order by Brooklynsway and Penwith.
John Velazquez (rider of Curalina, winner) – “She came back really good. Once I got my position, I made sure to stay there. I wanted to keep Sheer Drama in the tight spot. When we came into the lane, my horse just took off. There was no competition coming after her. She won easy.”
Todd Pletcher (trainer of Curalina, winner) – “We didn’t think (Angela Renee) would be on the lead when we (he and John Velazquez) spoke beforehand, but Johnny did a good job of getting in perfect position with her. He rode a very good race.”
Any concerns about bringing her back right into a Grade I race off a six-month layoff?
“No. We felt like we had her ready.”
Corey Lanerie (rider of Engaginglee, runner-up) – “The horse ran great. (Trainer) Dale (Romans) had her ready. My instructions were to be second or third if we can’t win. This was really big for this filly. I just sat back there and bided my time with her. She fought to the end. She could have easily given up and been third.”
David Fawkes (trainer of Sheer Drama, third-place finisher) – “It was a little too wet maybe for her. I was talking to Joe (Bravo) after the race and he said she never really took a good hold. We were talking right after the race. I don’t think she likes the track. She never gets a real, good solid footing. We’ll wait and see where she goes next.”
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