February 23, 2024

Rubilinda rockets to victory as Frankel’s first U.S. winner

Rubilinda missed the break, threaded through traffic, and blew them away in her debut at Belmont Park (NYRA/Coglianese Photography/Joe Labozzetta)

Six days after recording his first classic winner courtesy of Soul Stirring in Japan, unbeaten phenom Frankel celebrated another breakthrough when Rubilinda became his first U.S. winner. And the Don Alberto homebred did so in smashing style at Belmont Park.

Making her career debut for trainer Chad Brown, Rubilinda was bet down to 3-2 favoritism off a 6-1 morning line. The Kentucky-bred bay found herself last early after an awkward start, then appeared to be climbing at the rear. But her exceptional series of gears soon came into play in the turf sprint maiden.

With Jose Ortiz maneuvering her first inside, then outside, Rubilinda worked herself into position, despite evident greenness as she changed leads a couple of times. The sophomore deployed quite a turbo once organized in deep stretch, inhaling the leaders en route to a 3 1/4-length rout. She completed six furlongs on the good inner turf in 1:08.72.

Rubilinda now becomes the newest budding star for Don Alberto Stable, which has endured some misfortune this season. Don Alberto suffered the tragic loss of Triple Crown nominee Reach the World in a workout, and their sensational Unique Bella, long the antepost favorite for the Kentucky Oaks (G1), was ruled out by injury.

Rubilinda’s dam, Rubina, is an Aga Khan homebred who won first time out for John Oxx at two. Although the daughter of Invincible Spirit and stakes-winning Riyafa was unable to add a stakes laurel, she placed third in the 2011 Flame of Tara and finished fourth in the Debutante (G2) and Moyglare Stud (G1).

Rubina was sold for €190,000 ($244,435) at Goffs in November 2012, began her broodmare career by visiting Frankel, and commanded 475,000 guineas ($815,855) from Don Alberto at Tattersalls in December 2013. She has since produced a two-year-old Street Cry filly named Ruffina, who has been exported to Great Britain, and a 2017 colt by Empire Maker.