Wedding Toast tunes up for Distaff bid with front-running Beldame romp
A 5yo daughter of Street Sense, the Kiaran McLaughlin-trained mare was sent straight to the fore at the break by Jose Lezano and established a short lead through opening fractions in :24.11, :47.57 and 1:11.28.
Wedding Toast widened her advantage entering the stretch, reaching the eighth pole with a three-length edge, and rolled to the finish line as much the best, completing 1 1/8 miles in 1:47.67. She was favored at 3-5 among six runners.
Curalina , winner of the Acorn (G1) and CCA Oaks (G1) and third most recently in the Alabama (G1), finished a respectable second in her first attempt against elders, 2 ¾ lengths back of the winner. Off as the 5-2 second choice, Curalina wound up five lengths clear of third-placer Catch My Drift. Call Pat, House Rules and Hot Stones came next under the wire.
Wedding Toast has now won three straight, posting a four-length win in the May 9 Ruffian (G2) and a five-length score in the June 6 Ogden Phipps (G1). The dark bay improved her Belmont record to 5-for-6, but she counts victories at Aqueduct and GulfstreamPark among her six stakes triumphs.
After finishing second in her June 2013 career debut, Wedding Toast won four straight to complete her sophomore season but raced only once as a 4yo. The well-bred mare has really come on in her last three outings and has now earned $1,419,956 from a 12-8-2-1 record.
The Kentucky-bred is the first foal to start from the unraced Coronado’s Quest mare Golden Sheba, who counts as a half-brother the multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire and sire Congaree; and stakes winner and Grade 1 runner-up Sangaree.
Wedding Toast will bring quality speed to the Distaff field.
Kiaran McLaughlin: "(The layoff was) not much of a concern if you saw her worktab. Last week, she worked three-quarters (of a mile) in 12, so she's been fit. She just had a little foot issue and we had to skip the (Grade 1) Personal Ensign (at Saratoga) and then, thinking about it, we thought this was a better spot anyway because she loves the one turn. As good form as she's in, she'll be able to handle two turns (in the Breeders' Cup Distaff). She's won at two turns. But this race was here and it's a Grade 1, so it worked out well. I don't say it very often, but I asked him (Jose Lezcano) not to give her a hard race if he didn't have to because she looked that good on paper. We have a big race in five weeks. Couldn't have asked for better, it really went perfect."
On plans for the Breeders' Cup Distaff: "We're not sure when we're going to go to Kentucky. She's been training at Greentree on the synthetic and as long as the weather cooperates, we'll probably keep her there. She could go fine on the dirt at Keeneland or here or at Oklahoma, so we've got a lot of options."
Jose Lezcano: "She broke good and I let her go at her own pace. When I asked her in the stretch, she went on and did it easy. I never touched her with the whip or anything."
Wedding Toast photos courtesy of Adam Coglianese Photography