Curalina, making her first start since finishing third in the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Keeneland, took command at the head of the stretch and drew off to post a 7 1/2 -length victory over Engaginglee to win the $300,000, Grade I La Troienne Stakes for fillies and mares on Kentucky Oaks Day at Churchill Downs on Friday.
Trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by John Velazquez, Curalina covered the 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:42.45. It was the third victory in the La Troienne for Pletcher, who won with Authenticity in 2013 and Oonagh Maccool in 2006. Velazquez’s victory was his second, having won in 2013 with Authenticity.
Angela Renee led the field of six through fractions of :24.44, :48.38 and 1:12.36 with Curalina in closest pursuit. Turning for home, Curalina collared the leader and quickly pulled away for owners Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners.
“When we came into the lane, my horse just took off,” Velazquez said. “There was no competition coming after her. She won easy.”
The victory was worth $184,140 and increased Curalina’s earnings to $1,190,940 with a record of 9-5-2-2. It was the third Grade I victory for Curalina who won the Acorn and Coaching Club of America Oaks in 2015.
Curalina is a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred daughter of Curlin out of the Graeme Hall mare Whatdreamsrmadeof.
8-year-old wins Alysheba
Gallant Stables’ 8-year-old Majestic Harbor emerged from a three-way scramble at the three-sixteenths pole to become the oldest winner of the $400,000, Grade II Alysheba for 4-year-olds and up.
Trained by Paul McGee and ridden by Corey Lanerie, Majestic Harbor won by 2½ lengths over Eagle in covering the mile and a sixteenth on a fast track in 1:43.10.
“He’s a classy horse, he’s a millionaire and he showed his class today” McGee said. “He’s been a very sound horse all along, he really has.”
Cat Burglar, ridden by Gary Stevens, led the field of eight through fractions of :24.26 and :48.45 while on an uncontested lead. On the far turn, Majestic Affair and Majestic Harbor loomed up on Cat Burglar’s outside and the trio raced as a team into the stretch.
Cat Burglar yielded first, and at the eighth pole Majestic Harbor spurted clear of Majestic Affair and was not threatened in the run to the wire.
The victory was worth $240,560 and increased Majestic Harbor’s earnings to $1,246,814 with a record of 41-10-8-6.
Carina Mia takes Eight Belles
Three Chimneys Farm’s Carina Mia surged to the front at the eighth pole and drew off to win the $200,000, Grade III Eight Belles Stakes for 3-year-old fillies by 6 lengths over Blip n’ Th Bye.
Trained by Bill Mott and ridden by Julien Leparoux, Carina Mia covered the 7 furlongs on a fast track in 1:21.74.
The victory was worth $120,280 and increased Carina Mia’s bankroll to $309,760. Carina Mia is 2-for-2 at Churchill Downs having also taken the Grade III Golden Rod last fall.
Rocket Heat romps
Mike Sanchez’s Rocket Heat blasted away from the gate in front and never trailed in posting a 2-length victory over Alsvid in the $150,000, Grade III Twin Spires Turf Sprint for 3-year-olds and up.
Trained by Vann Belvoir and ridden by Flavien Prat, Rocket Heat covered the 5 furlongs on the turf in :56.47. It was the first stakes victory for Belvoir and Prat at Churchill Downs.
The victory was worth $85,560 and increased Rocket Heat’s earnings to $316,512 with a record of 17-6-5-1. It was the first graded stakes victory for the 4-year-old Rocket Heat.
Catch a Glimpse wins Edgewood
Catch a Glimpse, winner of last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Keeneland, ran her perfect record on grass to six with a half-length victory over Auntie Joy in the $150,000, Grade III Edgewood Stakes for 3-year-old fillies.
Trained by Mark Casse and ridden by Florent Geroux, Catch a Glimpse covered the mile and a sixteenth in 1:42.92.
It was the fifth graded stakes victory for the Kentucky-bred daughter of City Zip.