John Oxley's pair of top sophomore turf fillies lead the G3 Edgewood field at the wire on a rainy Friday at Churchill Downs, with La Coronel out-finishing her stablemate Dream Dancing by a half-length in the final strides. A daughter of Colonel John, La Coronel came from well off the early pace under Florent Geroux, despite being carried wide on both turns, to stop the clock in 1:45.56 over the turf course rated good. Trainer Mark Casse is responsible for both La Coronel and Dream Dancing, and also teamed with Geroux last year to win the Edgewood with Catch A Glimpse.
“I said at the wire, 'Maybe I should have run just one,'” Casse admitted. “I was going to run La Coronel against colts (in Saturday's American Turf) but she drew the bad post (No. 11). She ended up paying for it (No. 12) but she was so good, she overcame it. I never intended to run her today, but today is a nice day. We want to take her to Ascot, and I thought about trying her with a little give in the ground. She's a very good horse.”
Stallion Heiress broke on top of the 12-filly field, leading Sweeping Paddy by a half-length into the first turn to set a solid first quarter-mile fraction of 23.75 seconds. India Mantuana was right there in the mix in third, pressing the pace. Dream Dancing, between horses, was squeezed back a bit at the start and was last early, moving up the rail to tenth by the first turn, while her stablemate La Coronel took the alternative route around the pack in approximately sixth position, four wide around the first turn.
Stallion Heiress slowed the pace through the second quarter, clocking the half-mile in :48.68 while the order remained largely unchanged. Dream Dancing remained well covered between horses, while La Coronel was able to move down to three paths off the rail.
Rounding the far turn, Sweeping Paddy took over the lead, but India Mantuana was looming dangerously along her outside. Proctor's Ledge ranged up to take over the challenge Dream Dancing had to take back off heels once in the turn as she weaved her way between horses, and La Coronel began to unleash her charge three wide. Turning for home, Sweeping Paddy was able to dispatch India Mantuana, but the stablemates had plenty of run left in the tank.
La Coronel was the first to break clear, running alongside Proctor's Ledge in the center of the track, though Sweeping Paddy still held the lead along the inside. Dream Dancing finally broke free between horses, and came with a big turn of foot to wrest the lead from Sweeping Paddy. Geroux caught sight of his entry-mate making that move, and angled La Coronel over toward Dream Dancing to boost her motivation in the final hundred yards.
“I was wide and the post (12) was a killer today,” Geroux said. “She overcame it, though. My filly showed a lot of fight. I saw Julien (Leparoux) get through on the inside and thought he might get away (on Dream Dancing), but my filly saw her and went for it.”
Dream Dancing just could not maintain her turn of foot as La Coronel ran her down in the final strides. At the wire, it was La Coronel in front by a half-length over Dream Dancing, with Sweeping Paddy keeping on well to finish third. Proctor's Ledge was fourth.
“Dream Dancing ran great,” Casse continued. “Julien (Leparoux) last time said, I'm going to beat her next time.' I said, 'I don't know about that.' She's a very nice filly too. We're looking at the Belmont Oaks (GI on July 8). I just got to figure out how to get there. I think Dream Dancing will like a mile and a quarter.”
Bred in Kentucky by Kim Nardelli, Rodney Nardelli, Susan Bunning, A. Jaffreys and B. Jaffreys, La Coronel was a $375,000 OBS April 2-year-old in training sale purchase. It took her three starts to break her maiden, but she took her next race, the G3 Jessamine, with ease. In the Breeders' Cup she drew a wide post and had a terrible trip to finish sixth, but return to run a first and second in graded company to kick off her 3-year-old season. Overall, La Coronel boasts a record of four wins from eight starts, with earnings of nearly $350,000.
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