April 15, 2024

Letruska keeps rolling in Fleur de Lis

Letruska, with Jose Ortiz up, wins the Fleur de Lis Stakes (Photo by Jamie Newell/TwinSpires)

With an impressive 5 3/4-length victory in Saturday’s $300,000 Fleur de Lis (G2) at Churchill Downs, Letruska strengthened her grasp atop the filly & mare dirt division. The five-year-old has recorded three consecutive top-class wins for trainer Fausto Gutierrez.

Letruska after winning the Fleur de Lis Stakes (Photo by Jamie Newell/TwinSpires)

The 1 1/8-mile Fleur de Lis offered an expenses-paid spot in the Nov. 6 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) at Del Mar, but Letruska had already secured a “Win & You’re In” berth with a convincing wire-to-wire triumph in the June 5 Ogden Phipps (G1) at Belmont Park.

“There was a little question mark coming into this race off three weeks rest, but I knew Fausto is a great trainer and he’d have her ready,” jockey Jose Ortiz said. “She is a really nice mare and she was ready today. She got to the front pretty easy and she was comfortable the entire way around there.”

The 7-10 favorite broke a little outward from the gate, but Letruska quickly assumed control and traveled well off the rail as she showed the way into the first turn on a clear advantage. The St George Stables homebred established comfortable fractions in :24.53, :49.19, and 1:11.436 while under a snug hold from Jose Ortiz.

Asked for run on the final turn, Letruska immediately opened up an insurmountable lead upon her five rivals as she approached the stretch. The bay daughter of 2010 Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Super Saver continued to widen her advantage while cruising to the wire, stopping the teletimer in 1:48.57.

Antoinette held her positioning in second throughout at 22-1. Envoutante, the 2-1 second choice, wound up three-quarters of a length behind the runner-up in third. Point of Honor, Spice Is Nice, and Vault completed the order of finish.

Prior to her Ogden Phipps tally, Letruska edged now-sidelined champion Monomoy Girl by a nose in Apple Blossom (G1) at Oaklawn in mid-April. She opened 2021 with an easy win in the Houston Lady Classic (G3), and her lone setback this season, a head second to Shedaresthedevil in the Azeri (G2) at Oaklawn, came when she didn’t make the early lead.

Gutierrez left open the possibility of facing males at some point this season, with the aim of winning Horse of the Year.

“She’s a spectacular horse,” Gutierrez said. “I don’t really like to say what’s next, but she was great today. We know she’s a really nice dirt horse and is supposed to win at different racetracks and different conditions for a possible Horse of the Year campaign.”

Letruska opened her racing career in Mexico, winning her first six starts, including a pair of Grade 1s. Named the Mexican champion three-year-old filly of 2019, the Kentucky-bred shipped to Florida during the winter that year.

After earning her first U.S. graded victory in the Shuvee (G3) at Saratoga last summer, she added the Rampart (G3) at Gulfstream in December. Letruska has now earned $1,616,459 from a 20-15-1-1 record. She’s out of the Grade 2-placed Successful Appeal mare Magic Appeal, a half-sister to Grade 1 winner J P’s Gusto, and Letruska counts stakes victor and Grade 1-placed Trigger Warning as a half-brother.