Lady Sheila Stable's multiple graded stakes winner and Eclipse Award nominee La Verdad got her shortened 2016 campaign off to a successful start earning career victory No. 16 on Saturday with an easy score in the $100,000 Interborough at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Joined on the front end by longshot Fat Kat, La Verdad seized the early control in her characteristic fashion, coasting through an opening quarter-mile in 23.22 seconds. The Linda Rice-trained 6-year-old shook clear of her rival in the turn, clearing a half-mile in 46.13 and five-eighths in 58.05 under her regular jockey Jose Ortiz. The New York-bred Yes It's True mare was untouchable in the stretch and drew off to finish the six furlong sprint in 1:10.65, 2 ¾ lengths ahead of Dancing House in second.
“I broke good and felt we were in good position even though the No. 2 horse [Fat Kat] got a little bit of a jump on me,” said Ortiz. “Little by little, I got there and by the time I was in front I just took it easy. I waited a little bit more, then I let her go around the turn. Linda brought her in at 100 percent and ready for this race. When I asked her to go she went very well. I don't know what's next but whatever they decide with her I'm good with it.”
Favored at 2-5, the winner returned $2.80 on a $2 win wager.
La Verdad, runner-up in last year's Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint to secure contention for year-end honors as Champion Female Sprinter, closed out her 5-year-old season with a sixth-place finish against older males in the Grade 3 Fall Highweight on November 2 at the Big A.
Scheduled to be bred to top stallion Medaglia d'Oro in mid-February, La Verdad has time for one more race before her retirement, according to her trainer, who has penciled in the Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie on February 13 at Laurel Park for the star mare's swansong.
“We brought her home from the Breeders' Cup and after the Fall Highweight which, two years in a row, was somewhat disappointing, [but] she trained well, we kept her in New York and made plans to breed her to Medaglia [d'Oro],” said Rice. “Sheila [Rosenblum] and I spoke about it and said, 'well, she's doing so well, let's see if we can win a race or two with her before she goes.' We will be pointed to the Barbara Fritchie off of this, so hopefully she can get another win and go out a winner.”
With 16 wins to her credit, including last year's Grade 2 Distaff Handicap and Gallant Bloom, La Verdad boasts lifetime earnings of more than $1.5 million from 25 starts.
Room for Me, Princess Violet, Jubilant Vision and Fat Kat completed the order of finish. Willet was scratched.
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