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Letruska Faces Now-Or-Never Situation At Keeneland | 2022 Spinster Stakes Preview & FREE Picks
Letruska (Keeneland Photo)

Letruska Faces Now-Or-Never Situation At Keeneland | 2022 Spinster Stakes Preview & FREE Picks

Dr. Miranda previews the 2022 Juddmonte Spinster Stakes (G1) at Keeneland, then gives her top picks and longshots from this “Win & You’re In” for the 2022 Breeders’ Cup Distaff. The Fausto Gutierrez trainee Letruska, winner of this race last year, faces a now-or-never situation as she takes perhaps her final attempt at returning to the winner’s circle. Tell us YOUR thoughts in the Comments section!

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The track press release:

St. George Stable’s Letruska and Shadwell Stable’s Malathaat will clash for a fourth time as they headline a field of five fillies and mares entered Thursday for Sunday’s 67th running of the $600,000 Juddmonte Spinster (G1) going 1 1/8 miles on the main track.

The Juddmonte Spinster is a “Win and You’re In” race for the 39th running of the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) to be run here Nov. 5. The Juddmonte Spinster winner has come back weeks later to the win the Breeders’ Cup Distaff six times with Bayakoa (ARG) doing it twice in 1989 and 1990. The most recent horse to accomplish the double was Blue Prize (ARG) in 2019.

The Juddmonte Spinster will go as the ninth race on Sunday’s 10-race program with a 5:45 p.m. ET post time. First post is 1 p.m.

Trained by Fausto Gutierrez, Letruska will be bidding to become the fifth horse to win the Juddmonte Spinster in back-to-back years. The most recent was Blue Prize in 2018-2019.

Letruska, who has won two of four starts this year, in her most recent race was third behind Malathaat in the Personal Ensign (G1) at the 1 1/8-mile distance. Tyler Gaffalione has the mount on Letruska in the Juddmonte Spinster and will break from post position three.

Malathaat, who also finished in front of Letruska in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff as well as in the Ogden Phipps (G1), is perfect in two starts at Keeneland. Here she won the Central Bank Ashland (G1) in 2021 and opened her 2022 campaign with a victory in the Baird Doubledogdare (G3). Trained by four-time Juddmonte Spinster winner Todd Pletcher, Malathaat will break from post position one and be ridden by John Velasquez.

Stepping back into Grade 1 company is Rigney Racing’s Played Hard.

Trained by Phil Bauer, Played Hard comes into the Juddmonte Spinster off a 5¾-length victory in the Locust Grove (G3) at Churchill Downs on Sept. 17. In her previous Grade 1 test, Played Hard finished fifth behind Malathaat in last year’s Alabama at Saratoga.

Joel Rosario has the mount on Played Hard and will break from post position four.

Also returning to Grade 1 competition is Three Diamonds Farm’s Army Wife.

Third in the Alabama and Cotillion last year, Army Wife has won one of four starts in 2022 for trainer Mike Maker. Luis Saez has the mount Sunday and will break from post position two.

The field for the Juddmonte Spinster, with riders from the rail out, is: Malathaat (Velazquez), Army Wife (Saez), Letruska (Gaffalione), Played Hard (Rosario), Princess of Cairo (Geovanni Franco). All starters will carry 124 pounds.