Front-Running Letruska Too Much For Houston Ladies Classic Foes

St. George Stable’s front-running Letruska lived up to her odds-on favoritism in Sunday’s $300,000, Grade 3 Houston Ladies Classic Stakes at Sam Houston Race Park in Houston, Texas, fighting off a pesky Motion Emotion, then drawing away to win the ninth running of the filly and mare fixture by 2 1/2 lengths under jockey Jesus Castanon.

MIke Maker-trained Ujjayi finished second, with 2020 Houston Ladies Classic winner Lady Apple four lengths farther back in third and Tom Amoss-trained Figure It Out fourth. Motion Emotion, who like Lady Apple is trained by Steve Asmussen, finished fifth after making a bold mid-race move to pressure the eventual winner. Ken McPeek-trained Jeweled Princess finished sixth and Scott Geiner-trained Shes Our Fastest rounded out the field of seven.

Trained by Fausto Gutierrez, who brought the 5-year-old Kentucky-bred mare to the United States from Mexico City near the end of the 2019 racing season after winning all six of her races there, Letruska covered 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:45.02 after setting fractions of :23.66, :48.56, 1:12.99 and 1:38.42.  She paid $2.80 as the 2-5 favorite and was winning for the 12th time in 16 career starts. Six of those wins have come in the U.S., including two other graded stakes: the G3 Shuvee at Saratoga last August and the G3 Rampart at Gulfstream Park in her last start on Dec. 12.

Gutierrez removed blinkers from Letruska’s equipment prior to the Rampart, which she dominated to win by 6 3/4 lengths.

“I had never ridden her before, but watched her races” said Castanon. “She was comfortable the entire race and wanted to keep going once we crossed the wire.”

“This race has always attracted quality fillies,” said Gutierrez. “She continues to run with more confidence after we removed the blinkers. She is a wonderful filly.”

“We will see how she comes out of this race,” he added. “The logical step to go Oaklawn Park and attempt the (Grade 1) Apple Blossom.”

The Houston Ladies Classic was one of six stakes – two of them graded – with over $1 million in purses offered on Sunday’s Houston Racing Festival program that saw wagering total $5,342,599.

The post Front-Running Letruska Too Much For Houston Ladies Classic Foes appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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