LOUISVILLE, KY – Trainer Steve Asmussen’s She’s a Julie put forth a relentless attack on Secret Spice in the stretch run and proved too good to hold off, getting up in the shadow of the wire to win Friday’s La Troienne Stakes (G1) Presented by Inside Access from Chase at Churchill Downs.
Breaking from the rail at 5/1 odds under Ricardo Santana, Jr., She’s a Julie took back slightly and sat in the catbird seat behind Secret Spice and early leader Awe Emma through opening fractions of :24.01 and :47.92. Secret Spice took the lead midway through the far turn and turned for home beginning to open up, but she started drifting in and out through the stretch. Meanwhile, She’s a Julie had been put to task exiting the far turn and was gobbling up ground.
Reeling in the leader with a furlong remaining, She’s a Julie fought through a floating-out Secret Spice and surged late to win by a 1/2-length in a final time of 1:43.58 for the 1 1/16-mile event over the fast main track.
“I had plenty of horse at the 3/8,” said Santana, Jr. “I had a little patience for a hole to open. A hole opened really well, and when I asked her, she gave me a really nice run. We felt like there was plenty of speed today. I told Steve, ‘I want to stay behind the speed.’ Steve said, ‘You know the filly really well. Do what you can.’ I put her behind horses and she relaxed really well. When she picked up the bridle at the 3/8, she started running.”
Secret Spice was 3 1/2 lengths clear of the 2/1 favorite Blue Prize, who headed a late-closing Mopotism for third. Awe Emma faded to fifth ahead of Viva Forever, with Chocolate Martini, Divine Miss Grey, and Teresa Z completing the order of finish.
Golden Award was scratched.
She’s a Julie’s win was her first in a Grade 1 event and her fourth graded stakes score overall, including the Bayakoa Stakes most recently at Oaklawn Park. The 4-year-old daughter of Elusive Quality improved her record to 13-6-2-1 with $878,130 earned for co-owners Bradley Thoroughbreds, Whispering Oaks Farm, Team Hanley, Madaket Stables, and Tim and Anna Cambron.
“I felt this would be the right spot for her,” Asmussen said. “I got extremely nervous with all the rain this morning, with a sloppy track. It seemed like her sloppy track run last season caused the dip, but she’s a Grade 1-winning mare and deservedly so. I got concerned going into the second turn, it seemed that she had to wait for traffic a bit, but she showed her heart. She’s a monster physically, and it just shows that time helped her come together.”
She’s a Julie returned $12 to win, $6 to place, and $3.80 to show. Secret Spice brought back $6.20 to place and $3.60 to show, while Blue Prize paid $2.80 to show.