LEXINGTON, KY – St. Elias Stable’s Sweet Loretta made a triumphant return to the races, drawing off for a three-length victory over Sine Wave in the 32nd running of the Grade 3, $150,000 Adena Springs Beaumont for 3-year-old fillies before a Sunday afternoon crowd of 18,879.
Trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Javier Castellano, Sweet Loretta covered the Beard Course distance of 7 furlongs, 184 feet in 1:27.77 over a fast track.
The victory gave Pletcher his 50th Keeneland stakes victory and moved him into a tie with D. Wayne Lukas for the most stakes wins by a trainer in Keeneland history.
One other Pletcher stakes victory came in the 2002 Beaumont with Proper Gamble, who was the first of Castellano’s 32 Keeneland stakes victories. Castellano also won the race in 2014 on Ready to Act.
Promises Broken set the pace while under pressure from Sine Wave as Castellano saved ground next to the rail in the early going. At the head of the stretch, Castellano shot through an opening along the rail, quickly assumed command, and was never threatened the rest of the way.
The victory was worth $90,000 and increased Sweet Loretta’s earnings to $340,520 with four wins in five starts. The lone blemish on Sweet Loretta’s record came with an 11th-place finish in the 14 Hands Winery Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies in her previous start last November.
The victory also gave Sweet Loretta 10 qualifying points toward the $1 million Kentucky Oaks, a total that will not boost her into the top 14 points-earners, the maximum number of starters for the May 5 race.
Sine Wave, ridden by Florent Geroux, held on for second, with Laney finishing another 3 1/2 lengths back in third under Julien Leparoux. Promises Broken finished fourth and was followed in order by My Miss Chiff, Dancing Rags, and Treble.
A graduate of Keeneland’s 2014 November Breeding Stock Sale, Sweet Loretta is a Kentucky-bred daughter of Tapit out of the Bluegrass Cat mare Ithinkisawapudycat.
Sweet Loretta returned $4.40, $3.60, and $3. Sine Wave brought back $11.60 and $5.60, while Laney paid $5.80 to show.
Jockey Javier Castellano, Sweet Loretta: “I had a really good trip. I was inside all the way and saved all the ground the best I could. Turning for home, the rail was open and I took my shot. She finished really well. I give all the credit to (trainer) Mr. (Todd) Pletcher for the way he trained the filly, coming off a layoff after the Breeders’ Cup (Juvenile Fillies).”
Assistant trainer Ginny DePasquale, Sweet Loretta: “She’s been training very well lately. She hasn’t missed a beat, so we expected big things from her today. She stepped up to the plate today. We’re very happy.”
On her next race: “I’m not sure what it is. I’m sure (Todd) is going to talk to (owner Vincent Viola) and figure it out between the two of them.”
Jockey Florent Geroux, Sine Wave: “I was in the two path pretty much the whole way. She tried really, really hard. The winner was the best filly in the race, but my filly dug in and tried really hard.”
Jockey Julien Leparoux, Laney: “It was a good trip. She closed and kept with it, so it was good. The winner (Sweet Loretta) went pretty easy. I thought maybe at one point we would be second, but she ran a big race.”
Jockey Robby Albarado, Promises Broken: “That (being in the lead after a sharp break) wasn’t the plan. Up the backside, I was hoping and hoping someone would run up the inside so I could lay off the pace, but no one did. Pace was pretty rapid. It was fast. She ran as hard as she could, as far as she could. She’s a nice filly.”
Jockey Angel Cruz, Dancing Rags: “I was outside, and when I tried to save some ground, the dirt hit her, and she didn’t like that. When I asked her to run, she didn’t have it today. Maybe next time.”
Trainer Graham Motion, Dancing Rags: “It’s a little disappointing. They ran away from her early on, which I expected, but I am surprised she didn’t run on a little bit at the end. Angel Cruz did exactly what I asked him to do, which was not to rush her. She will stretch out and go two turns next time.”