March 4, 2024

Letruska sharp in Royal Delta comeback

Letruska wins the Royal Delta Stakes (Photo by Lauren King/Coglianese Photos)

Champion older dirt female Letruska made it look easy, opening her six-year-old campaign with a convincing wire-to-wire victory in Saturday’s $150,000 Royal Delta (G3) at Gulfstream Park. The 1-9 favorite rebounded from a setback in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) at Del Mar last fall, scoring by a three-length margin with Jose Ortiz.

Trained by Fausto Gutierrez, the St George Stable homebred sprinted clear from the starting gate, leading by a couple of lengths after an opening quarter-mile in :24.39, and Letruska continued to increase her margin through splits :48.63 and 1:12.58.

“She broke well,” Ortiz said. “I put her on the lead, and she relaxed well. Around the three-eighths pole I just smooched at her a little bit. I knew the race was over. She was full of herself. On the straight you could see I was just easing her up. She was looking around at the people inside the track and the photographers and stuff. She did everything very easy.”

Letruska was taken under wraps in deep stretch, finishing the 1 1/16-mile distance in 1:43.43.

“I think this is important,” Gutierrez said. “Now, she is six-years-old, and she made it look easy. It’s not easy. It’s a Grade 3. To win you have to make this kind of effort. She looks in very good form and ready for the next race.”

Into Vanishing held second throughout, winding about a length better Il Malocchio in third, and Crazy Beautiful, Key Biscayne, and Helping Lisa completed the order.

A Kentucky-bred daughter of Super Saver, Letruska opened her racing career in Mexico in the fall of 2018, winning her first six outings, including a pair of Grade 1 events, en route to being named champion Mexican three-year-old filly in 2019. She shipped to Gulfstream later that season, capturing her U.S. debut in December.

Letruska won 4-of-7 starts, including the Rampart (G3) and Shuvee (G3), in 2020, and the bay mare really came on last year, opening a five-race win streak with a nose tally over Monomoy Girl in the Apple Blossom (G1) at Oaklawn Park. She captured a total of four Grade 1 events before weakening to 10th as the favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff.

Returning from a 112-day layoff in the Royal Delta, Letruska has now earned $2,348,529 from a 24-18-1-1 career line.

“I think the Apple Blossom (on April 23) is next,” Gutierrez said. “This year, if everything goes OK, I would like her to run six times. Last year, she had eight stakes, a lot of Group 1s, traveling all around. Now, we need to go more passive.”