November 30, 2023

La Coronel tops Oxley/Casse exacta in Edgewood, prep for Coronation at Royal Ascot

La Coronel (left) with Florent Geroux up wins the Edgewood over stablemate Dream Dancing at Churchill Downs (Lauren Pomeroy/

At first expected to venture forth against the boys in Saturday’s American Turf (G2), La Coronel instead stayed within the three-year-old filly turf division in Friday’s $150,000 Edgewood (G3) at Churchill Downs. She’d drawn poorly in both races, but her class edge helped her get away with a wide trip on Oaks Day. Collaring entrymate Dream Dancing in deep stretch, La Coronel topped the exacta for owner John C. Oxley and trainer Mark Casse, and duly stamped her ticket to Royal Ascot.

Casse, who sent out the now-retired Tepin to Queen Anne (G1) glory last June, has penciled in the June 23 Coronation (G1) for La Coronel. The Colonel John filly will bring a resume highlighted by three graded stakes wins – the October 12 Jessamine (G3) and April 13 Appalachian (G3), both at Keeneland, preceding her Churchill triumph. Tepin had used the virtually identical time frame ahead of her Royal Ascot foray, warming up with a repeat in the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (G2) on Derby Day.

Breaking from post 12 with regular rider Florent Geroux, La Coronel was hung out on the first turn, but traveled comfortably a little worse than midpack. Up front, Stallion Heiress was trying to make the most of her controlling-speed status through fractions of :23.75 and :48.68 on a “good” course. But she was overtaken by Sweeping Paddy at the six-furlong mark in 1:13.95 and retreated.

Proctor’s Ledge, parked wide in striking range, began to improve, and La Coronel followed her through to the stretch. By that point, Sweeping Paddy had tried to give them the slip. Dream Dancing burst through the pack to accost her, but widest of all, La Coronel was revving into gear.

The farther they went, the strong La Coronel proved, until powering a half-length in front. The even-money entry drew 2 3/4 lengths clear of third-placer Sweeping Paddy, and Proctor’s Ledge was a one-paced fourth.

La Coronel clocked 1:45.56 for 1 1/16 miles. Arguably the more telling stat was that she covered 44 feet more than Dream Dancing, according to Trakus. Extrapolating from that, you can contend she’d have won handily if not taking the scenic route.

Bred by Kim Nardelli, Rodney Nardelli, Susan Bunning, A. Jaffreys and B. Jaffreys, La Coronel RNA’d for $37,000 as a weanling at Keeneland November. She sold for that price as a Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October yearling, then commanded tenfold when bringing $375,000 as an OBS April two-year-old.

La Coronel has now earned $345,145 from her 8-4-1-0 line, also reflecting a neck loss in the March 11 Florida Oaks (G3) in her reappearance. Her lone unplaced effort was a creditable sixth from post 13 in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1). La Coronel had previously romped over Breeders’ Cup winner New Money Honey in a Saratoga maiden.

Her dam, the Canadian Grade 3-plced Listen, is a Chester House half-sister to Grade 2-winning sprinter Listen Here. La Coronel descends from the further family of Grade 1 winners Listening and Bonapaw as well as ill-fated champion Lost in the Fog. Another maternal relative, Linda, captured last year’s Mrs. Revere (G2) and hopes to add to her record in Saturday’s Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (G2).

Speaking of Saturday, Oxley and Casse go to war with champion Classic Empire in the Kentucky Derby (G1).