Judy the Beauty targets speedy La Verdad in Honorable Miss
After three trips to California last season, including a title-clinching effort in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) at Santa Anita, Judy the Beauty will likely stay east of the Mississippi for the remainder of her six-year-old campaign. With this year's Breeders' Cup at her home track of Keeneland, and considering Ward's tendency to space out her races, it would not be far-fetched to think the six-furlong Honorable Miss will be her sole outing before she wraps things up in the $400,000 Presque Isle Downs Masters (G2) on September 7 or $250,000 Thoroughbred Club of America (G2) on October 3, followed by the $1 million Filly & Mare Sprint on October 31.
Judy the Beauty has raced just once so far this term, going down by a neck to Dame Dorothy in the Humana Distaff (G1) at Churchill Downs May 1. Ward considered it a good effort given the circumstances.
"You know it was kind of a tough winter in Kentucky. She was training down there and being her first race back in a Grade 1 and not having a prep or anything, I thought it was a very good effort," Ward said. "She's doing great. She likes a target to run at so I would expect we'd probably be off the pace."
That target will be La Verdad, a freakishly fast mare who has won all three outings this year, including a repeat score in the Distaff H. (G2) back in April and the Vagrancy H. (G3) the following month. The New York-bred was favored in the 2014 Honorable Miss, but failed to make the lead over a sloppy track. She didn't do so well next out in the Ballerina (G1) either, but probably finds seven furlongs a bit beyond her scope in open company.
"She did not do well over this track last year but I think that she was a little bit over the top at the time," trainer Linda Rice said. "She had been training for a long time and I'm hoping that after getting a break this winter, she's come back fresh and well."
The only other graded winner in the field is Street Story, who captured the Winning Colors (G3) on a sloppy Churchill strip two back, and last time was second to Dame Dorothy in the Bed o' Roses H. (G3) at Belmont. Ultimate Shopper, a last-out allowance winner at Gulfstream who could keep La Verdad honest early, and Enchantress, a three-year-old well-beaten in her last three starts, complete the field.
(Judy the Beauty photo: Wendy Wooley/EquiSport Photos)