TORONTO, ON – Close but not close enough in her four stakes attempts overseas, Godolphin’s La Pelosa welcomed a change of scenery by shipping to Woodbine and scoring big in Sunday’s Grade 1, $250,000 Natalma Stakes.
The Natalma is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event, with La Pelosa receiving an automatic berth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Churchill Downs on Friday, November 2.
Breaking from post 13 under fellow traveler Jamie Spencer at odds of 3/1, La Pelosa was content to settle near the rear of the 13-horse field while Eyeinthesky posted inital fractions of :22.98, :45.36, and 1:09.08. Ranging up between horses in the far turn, La Pelosa was set down for the stretch drive alongside the 5/2 favorite My Gal Betty and the two fillies began reeling in the pacesetter. In midstretch, My Gal Betty began drifting out greenly, allowing La Pelosa to take command, and the Charlie Appleby trainee hit the wire with a length advantage in a final time of 1:33.70 for the mile-long event over the firm turf course.
“She did everything right,” said Spencer, who was riding her for the first time. “She did what her U.K. form suggested it would do and the race worked out perfectly. I just got her into her rhythm where she’s happy and let her take it from there. The pace was strong, so I was a little bit farther back than I initially planned, but that’s the way it panned out, and she was very brave in the straight when I asked her for a full effort.”
Though jockey Rafael Hernandez was able to correct her before she hit the outer rail, My Gal Betty lost enough momentum to take second. Bold Script necked out Pivottina for third, with Stillwater Cove 3/4 of a length back in fifth. Comic Kitten crossed 4 lengths behind in sixth, with Souciologist a 1/2-length ahead of a weakened Eyeinthesky. Not Orbinary, Chasing the Kitty, Above All Names, Chicas Amigas, and Artilena completed the order of finish. Bohemian Queen and Mintd were scratched.
La Pelosa’s win was her first since her debut at Kempton Park on May 23 and improved her overall record to 6-2-2-1, including a very close second in the Group 3 Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot. The Irish-bred daughter of Dandy Man has now earned $169,290 in her career – $115,020 of which came from her triumph here.
“She’s a lovely filly,” said assistant trainer Alex Merriam. “I think she’s turned a few heads this week. She shipped well, she travelled well, and she’s done everything right, which is a big ask for a 2-year-old filly, so we’re really pleased with her.”
La Pelosa returned $8.50 to win, $4.30 to place, and $3.20 to show. My Gal Betty brought back $4 to place and $3.30 to show, while Bold Script paid $11.40 to show.