La Pelosa Ships In, Runs Away With Natalma Stakes

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

September 17th, 2018

La Pelosa has talent—that much has been clear since she won her debut back in May. And following a series of frustrating defeats in Great Britain, Godolphin Racing and trainer Charlie Appleby pulled off a major coup when they shipped La Pelosa to contest the Natalma Stakes (gr. I) at Woodbine and came away with a top-level prize.

Not even breaking from post eleven in a large field could stop La Pelosa, who was clearly superior to her dozen rivals in Sunday’s “Win and You’re In” qualifier for the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (gr. I). And that’s not really surprising since La Pelosa had run well against some very talented fillies in Great Britain, most notably finishing second twice behind Main Edition in the Albany Stakes (Eng-III) at Royal Ascot and the Sweet Solera Stakes (Eng-III) at Newmarket.

By comparison, the Natalma Stakes appeared to be a drop in class despite its Grade 1 status, and La Pelosa made the most of her opportunity. With jockey Jamie Spencer in the saddle, La Pelosa was content to wait in tenth place early on as longshot Eyeinthesky flew along on a clear lead through fast fractions of :22.98, :45.36, and 1:09.08 seconds.

As the field approached the quarter pole, the stakes-winning local runner and race favorite My Gal Betty made a bid for the lead from mid-pack, but La Pelosa—now in full stride—was following My Gal Betty’s every move while threading through the field and saving a surprising amount of ground under a perfect ride from Spencer.

With Eyeinethesky tiring from her early exertions, the pace-tracking Stillwater Cove briefly assumed a narrow lead, but La Pelosa clearly had her measured and soon forged to the front. My Gal Betty also finished with determination and was closing a bit of ground on La Pelosa in the final strides, but by that point Spencer had eased up on his filly, who cruised across the wire a length in front while stopping the timer in 1:33.70 seconds.
Both the winner and the runner-up seem well-suited to a run in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf on November 2nd at Churchill Downs, especially when you consider that the last three times the Breeders’ Cup has been held in Kentucky, the Juvenile Fillies Turf winner prepped in the Natalma Stakes. Stillwater Cove, who faded late to finish fifth while beaten just a length for third place, could also be bound for the Breeders’ Cup, albeit with the new Juvenile Turf Sprint as the more likely target.

For Appleby, the Natalma marked his third graded stakes win in North America following victories by Outstrip in the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. I) and Wuheida in the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. I). Perhaps, seven weeks from now, La Pelosa can follow in her stablemates’ footsteps and give Appleby his third Breeders’ Cup win as well.