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ELMONT, NY – St. George Stable homebred Letruska made it back-to-back top-level scores with a romping victory in Saturday’s $500,000 Ogden Phipps Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park.
The Ogden Phipps is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event, with Letruska receiving an automatic berth in the Distaff at Del Mar this November.
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Letruska broke cleanly from post 3 under Jose Ortiz (subbing for his brother Irad, who was injured during a mid-race incident Thursday) as the 6/5 favorite and held a pressured command with Shedaresthedevil flanking her outside.
After opening fractions of :23.49, :46.76, and 1:10.26, Letruska dispatched of her rivals in the far turn and needed only to be shown the crop to keep charging hard in the late stages.
The Fausto Gutierrez trainee crossed 2 3/4 lengths much the best, stopping the clock in 1:41.25 for the one-turn, 1 1/16-mile fast dirt event.
“She was breaking a little bit slow, but she broke good today,” said Ortiz. “I was able to put her on the lead and make the other horses chase me. … (Shedaresthedevil) couldn’t keep up with me by the 3/8 pole. When I looked back and saw her 3 lengths behind me, I was very happy. It was very impressive. She’s a very nice mare.”
Bonny South rallied from off the pace to secure second by 1 length over her Brad Cox stablemate Shedaresthedevil.
Queen Nekia and Water White completed the order of finish.
Swiss Skydiver and Valiance scratched after each spiked a fever leading up to the race.
Letruska’s win followed her triumph in the Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) at Oaklawn Park and improved her overall record to 19-14-1-1. The 5-year-old Super Saver mare has now earned $1,432,319.
“This is back-to-back Grade 1 wins,” said Gutierrez. “She showed her potential. This is a speed horse that can run long distances. Today, she confirmed what we saw in the Apple Blossom. She’s progressed with age and taking the blinkers off. She ran like a big horse”
Letruska returned $4.40 to win, $2.70 to place, and $2.10 to show. Bonny South brought back $2.90 to place and $2.20 to show. Shedaresthedevil paid $2.10 to show.
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