Undefeated Kentucky-Bred From Mexico Piques Interest In Tropical Park Oaks
Letruska seen winning the Copa Invitacional
There is something intriguing about an unbeaten 3-year-old filly, especially one who:
· Comes from another country
· Has beaten older males
· Is unbeaten in seven starts
· Will face U.S.-based competition for the first time
· And will be making her turf debut.
Meet the intriguing Letruska.
A Kentucky-bred star in Mexico, Letruska will face her toughest test to date Saturday when she meets a field of 13 in the $75,000 Tropical Park Oaks at Gulfstream Park.
The 1 1/16 mile Oaks will be one of six turf stakes on Saturday's 11-race program, and the six turf events carded by stakes coordinator Eric Friedman are packed with competitive, quality fields.
First race post is noon.
Along with the Oaks, the turf stakes include the $75,000 Tropical Park Derby at 1 1/16 mile, the $100,000 H. Allen Jerkens at two miles and the $100,000 Abundantia at five furlongs.
The Oaks drew Godolphin LLC's graded stakes-placed Carnival Colors, Live Oak Plantation's stakes winner Souper Escape, stakes-placed Red Rounder and La Australiana, and, yes, Letruska.
A daughter of 2010 Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Super Saver, Letruska is out of Magic Appeal, who finished third in the 2009 Adirondack Stakes (G2). After winning her first six starts in Mexico against fillies dating back to October of 2018, trainer Fausto Gutierrez began to consider several stakes over the summer and fall in the U.S.
“The plan was to run in the Monmouth Oaks (G3) or the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) or Remington [Park] Oaks (G3), but because of logistics it was impossible,” Gutierrez said.
Unable to race Letruska against fillies her own age, Gutierrez, who also trains another Mexican star in Kukulkan, took a chance and entered the filly against older males in the Dec. 8 Copa Invitacional del Caribe at Gulfstream. The result was a 4 ½-length victory and a case to run in Saturday's Oaks.
“After the [Copa Invitacional] she has done very well,” said Gutierrez, who has more than a dozen runners stabled at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream's satellite training facility in Palm Beach County. “I want to take advantage of this being the last opportunity to run her as a 3-year-old. I also want to test her on the grass. I think she's good enough to run on the grass.”
The Oaks will certainly be Letruska's toughest assignment. Carnival Colors, trained by Michael Stidham, is a daughter of Distorted Humor, was second in the Mazarine (G3) and fourth in the Ontario Colleen Stakes, both at Woodbine, before winning the Fasig-Tipton Virginia Oaks in August at Colonial Downs. She enters the Oaks off a ninth-place finish at Keeneland Oct 18 in the Pin Oak Valley View (G3).
Souper Escape has proved so versatile and consistent. Trained by Mike Trombetta, Souper Escape won the La Lorgnette at Woodbine in September and the Christiana Stakes at Delaware in June. She was beaten less than three lengths in the Sands Point (G2) at Belmont in October and most recently third in the Millions Filly and Mare Turf Preview at Gulfstream Park West.
JCA Racing Stable LLC's La Australiana comes into the Oaks off a third-place finish in the Cellars Shiraz at Gulfstream Park West Nov. 2. The daughter of Australia has won twice and finished third three times in seven turf starts.
After winning the Miss Graci at Gulfstream in September, Raki was fifth in the Cellars Shiraz and seventh, beaten 3 ½ lengths, in the Claiming Crown Tiara.
Red Rounder was sixth in the Cellars Shiraz, but before that was second in Gulfstream's Martha Washington in July for trainer Mike Maker.