Llanarmon Takes Natalma; Maragh Injured
Llanarmon punched her ticket to the Breeders’ Cup with an impressive maiden score in Saturday’s Grade 2, $225,600 Natalma Stakes at Woodbine.
As a ‘Win and You’re In’ event, the winner of the one-mile turf event automatically earns a position in the starting gate for the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Santa Anita on November 1. All entry fees and travel costs will be waived.
Trained by Roger Attfield for Harlequin Ranches, the dark bay Sky Mesa filly sprung to the lead in deep stretch under Emma-Jayne Wilson to notch a 3/4-length win over Spanish Flower. Llanarmon stopped the clock in 1:35.89 in just her second lifetime start.
On debut, Llanarmon rallied from the back of the pack in a 12-horse field to finish third in a seven-furlong maiden allowance event won by rival Appreciating.
The dark bay rival used a similar racing style in the Natalma, racing in seventh position in the eight horse field as Unspurned and Ready to Act battled for the lead through splits of :23.89 and :47.04.
Ready to Act, with Rajiv Maragh up, took command at the top of the lane opening up a comfortable two-length lead only to duck in sharply midstretch, unseating Maragh. Llanarmon, racing in second position, veered out to avoid the fallen rider and finished strongly for the win.
Maragh, alert and conscious following the spill, was taken to local hospital for assessment. Both Ready to Act and Unspurned, who appeared to clip Maragh, seemed unharmed.
Wilson was pleased with the effort of her filly during an eventful stretch run.
“I was really happy with my position,” said Wilson. “When I called on her, despite the activity, she was really strong. She stalled, had a look at everything, regained her focus and finished up.”
Llanarmon, bred in Ontario by Cavendish Investing Ltd., banked $144,000 in victory while improving her record to 1-0-1 from two starts.
She returned $20.40, $7.70 and $4.60, pairing with Spanish Flower ($12.40, $7.90) for a $253.50 (7-9) exactor. A 7-9-6 (Appreciating, $3 to show) triactor was worth $984.60. Madly Truly completed a $1 Superfecta (7-9-6-8) worth 3,053.80. My Conquestadory and Henrys Island were scratched.
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