By Najja Thompson | 07/29/2015 (NYRA.COM)
Heading into the 2015 Saratoga Race Course meet, one of the goals for Linda Rice trainee La Verdad was a graded stakes victory at the historic track. On Wednesday, that goal was accomplished in an impressive manner, with her runaway victory in the Grade 2, $200,000 Honorable Miss for fillies and mares 3 years old and up.
Breaking sharply from post 3 with Jose Ortiz aboard, La Verdad quickly went to the front to lead the field of five while closely stalked by 4-5 post-time favorite Judy the Beauty under Joel Rosario. Setting fractions of 22.47 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 45.03 for the half, La Verdad opened up on the field at the eighth pole and drew away in the stretch to win by four lengths, completing the six furlongs in 1:09.14.
“She broke great today and she did her job,” said Ortiz. “I was cruising at the quarter pole and I let her run. She did everything very well.”
Last year’s Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare sprint winner Judy the Beauty faded in deep stretch but held on for third, while Street Story closed from fourth to earn place honors. Enchantress came in fourth, followed by Ultimate Shopper.
“She broke sharp and I was following La Verdad,” said Rosario. “On the turn she got away from me a little bit and it was hard for me to stay with her. She ran a nice race. I wish it was a little longer. She was good. She broke sharp and I didn’t want to take anything away from her. She was going nice and easy and the other horse just got away from me.”
Leaving the gate as the 6-5 second choice, La Verdad returned $4.60 for a $2 win wager while increasing her career earnings to $1,170,000.
“Oh my gosh, what a race! What a competition! What a trainer! What a jockey! What a groom!” said Sheila Rosenblaum, managing partner of Lady Sheila Stable. “She’s incredible. La Verdad is some joy!”
With their initial goal of winning a graded stakes race at Saratoga now complete, Rice is now looking forward to entering the filly in the Grade 1 Ballerina on August 29.
“Judy the Beauty is a very great horse and intimidating filly. Obviously today went very well,” said Rice. “I was nervous running against that type of filly. I knew she was going to be a real tough competitor. La Verdad is at her best right now and this is great because we are going into the Ballerina [Grade 1, $500,000, August 29]. We’re going after that elusive Grade 1 victory.”