La Verdad goes unchallenged in Honorable Miss

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

July 29th, 2015

Unlike last year when she broke slow over a sloppy track, La Verdad had no difficulties dominating Wednesday's renewal of the $196,000 Honorable Miss H. (G2) at Saratoga.

The speedy mare assumed her customary position on the front end, carved out reasonable splits of :22.47 and :45.03 while unchallenged, and had plenty left to fend off a modest bid from Street Story to win by four lengths in a time of 1:09.14 over a fast track.

Owned by Lady Sheila Stable, trained by Linda Rice, and ridden by Jose Ortiz, La Verdad paid $4.60 as the 13-10 second choice.

It was the fourth win in as many starts this year for the five-year-old mare, who preceded this with a successful title defense in the Distaff H. (G2), a half-length triumph in the Vagrancy H. (G3), and a comfortable romp in the $100,000 Dancin Renee against New York-breds.

With no serious pressure applied by nominal front runners Enchantress and Ultimate Shopper in the early stages, the Honorable Miss turned into a coronation for La Verdad. This scenario did not not help Street Story nor divisional champion Judy the Beauty, the 4-5 favorite who wound up third in a flat effort.

As far as Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) implications, La Verdad still must prove she can handle seven furlongs in top company. She might get another chance to prove it in next month's Ballerina (G1), a race she tired to fifth in last year, but it's highly likely she won't get as easy a time up front as she did here.

For Judy the Beauty, this was her second loss in a row following a neck defeat in the Humana Distaff (G1) on Kentucky Derby Day. Conceding fitness returning from a long layoff that day and compromised by the pace scenario here, she's had some legitimate excuses.

However, it's also possible Judy the Beauty, now six, has lost a step. It also must be kept in mind that she's made quite a career out of finishing second or third just as often as winning. Through Wednesday she's won nine races and placed 10 other times.

The same can not be said for La Verdad, a veritable win machine with 14 victories from 20 starts and earnings of $1,170,700.

In a hypothetical match-up at seven furlongs I'd still take Judy the Beauty over La Verdad. However, with the latter's distance limitations and the former's gradual decline in form, it's possible neither will be in championship contention come October.

(La Verdad photo: NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography)