Charlie Appleby's La Pelosa chips in to take Natalma Stakes under Jamie Spencer
Second against Group 3 competition twice this season in England, a trip over the Atlantic brought a Grade 1 win to Godolphin's La Pelosa in the $250,000 Natalma Stakes at Woodbine.
The stretch run of the mile turf test featured three different leaders, but the two-year-old Dandy Man filly was the one who lasted to the wire under jockey Jamie Spencer, as favoured My Gal Betty wandered out to the centre of the course late and could not get by.
Longshot pacesetter Eyeinthesky who led into the stretch, was soon passed by Stillwater Cove and La Pelosa finished off the mile in 1:33.70 on firm turf for trainer Charlie Appleby. Bold Script completed the trifecta at odds of 33-1.
"She did everything right," Spencer said. "She did what her UK form suggested it would do and the race worked out perfectly. I just got her into her rhythm where she's happy and let her take it from there. The pace was strong, so I was a little bit further back than I initially planned, but that's the way it panned out, and she was very brave in the straight when I asked her for a full effort."
Eyeinthesky set fractions of 22.98, 45.36, and 1:09.08 with a clear lead, but didn't last long in the stretch. Stillwater Cover led by a length with a furlong to run, but La Pelosa, who raced in tenth early, was full of running and kicked away late to win by a length.
La Pelosa had finished second last time out in the German-Thoroughbred.com Sweet Solera Stakes (G3) at Newmarket on August 11, and before that had just missed by a neck in the Group 3 Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot in June. In between she finished fifth in the Group 2 Duchess of Cambridge Stakes and third in the British Stallion Studs EBF Star Stakes.
"She's a lovely filly," said Appleby's assistant Alex Merriam. "I think she's turned a few heads this week. She shipped well, she travelled well and she's done everything right, which is a big ask for a two-year-old filly, so we're really pleased with her."
La Pelosa was bred by Elton Lodge Stud, out of the Bushranger mare Lauren's Girl. She was a $420,126 purchase by Godolphin out of the 2018 Tattersalls Craven Breeze-Up Sale.
Also on Sunday
Fog Of War wins battle for Summer Stakes
The $250,00 Grade 1 Summer Stakes for two-year-olds featured a battle of the War Front colts, as Peter Brant's Fog Of War got rolling late in the Woodbine stretch and took over in the final furlong to score over War Of Will.
Ridden by Javier Castellano, Fog Of War settled off the pace in fourth early in the field of 12 juveniles. Looking as if he might stall coming off the turn, he hit his best stride when it mattered and was able to get past War Of Will to complete the mile contest in a final time of 1:33.90. The winning margin was three-quarters of a length.
"I like the way he did it. He's a very talented horse and I think the key was I tried to teach him something for the future – for the next race. It's the kind of horse that you don't want to be on in front with everybody chasing. You want to teach him something and let him win the race and go forward. I think he's got a lot of potential and he's coming around very well."
Fog Of War won his only previous start – a 5½f maiden special weight race at Saratoga Race Course – by a neck on good turf.
Bred by Orpendale, Chelston, and Wynatt, Fog Of War is out of the Group 1-placed Say and is a full brother to British stakes winner Naval Intelligence.
"Chad Brown and I looked at this horse, and we just liked the way he was made," Brant said. "He was a choice of ours and he's really come through. He's a wonderful horse. Chad and his whole team have done a great job with this horse.
"The fact that he's bred to go longer, and won at that trip like that, and showed that burst of speed – that was very encouraging. But you never know until you get further down the road like here and run in a Grade 1. You always hope and this is a game of great hopes, and that's what keeps us all in."
Jockey Joel Rosario was also happy with the performance from War Of Will, who is a half-brother to Irish Group 1 winner Pathfork.
"It was a good trip. He broke well and it looked like Wallace wanted to take the lead, so I just travelled with him for a little bit," Rosario said. "He came home very nice. He responded very well, but the favourite came with a strong run on the outside. It was a very good performance. He ran well, but the other horse had talent and finished very fast."
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