Sweet Loretta hadn’t been seen in competition since suffering her first career loss in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) last November at Santa Anita Park, but on Sunday made her three-year-old debut a winning one at Keeneland.
The St. Elias Stable colorbearer rallied up the rail heading into the stretch of the $150,000 Beaumont Stakes (G3) to post a three-length victory under jockey Javier Castellano. Sweet Loretta was sent off the 6-5 favorite against six rivals and stopped the clock in 1:27.77 for seven furlongs and 184 feet over the fast Keeneland Beard course.
The bay daughter of Tapit not only made her seasonal bow on Sunday but also her Kentucky Oaks Leaderboard debut thanks to the 10 points awarded to the winner of the Beaumont. The race is part of the Road to the Kentucky Oaks series of points races and was worth 10-4-2-1 points to the respective top four finishers.
Sine Wave and Laney were the longest shots in the field at 16-1 but ended up respectively filling the place and show spots in the Beaumont, separated by 3 1/2 lengths. It was a neck farther back to early pacesetter Promises Broken in fourth. All three also appeared on the Kentucky Oaks Leaderboard for the first time with their points.
My Miss Chiff, Dancing Rags and Trebel finished out the order under the wire.
Sweet Loretta is no stranger to the winner’s circle, easily capturing her initial three starts by a total 17 lengths, including the Schuylerville Stakes (G3) and Spinaway Stakes (G1) at Saratoga. The Todd Pletcher pupil improved her career record to 5-4-0-0, $340,520, with the Beaumont victory.
Bred in Kentucky by Ashview Farm LLC and Colts Neck Stables LLC, Sweet Loretta is the first registered foal out of the stakes-placed Bluegrass Cat mare Ithinkisawapudycat, who is a half-sister to Grade 1 winner and Canadian champion Spring in the Air.
Javier Castellano, jockey Sweet Loretta, winner
“I had a really good trip. I was inside all the way and saved all the ground the best I could. Turning for home, the rail was open and I took my shot. She finished really well. I give all the credit to (trainer) Mr. (Todd) Pletcher for the way he trained the filly, coming off a layoff after the Breeders’ Cup (Juvenile Fillies).”
Ginny DePasquale, assistant trainer Sweet Loretta, winner
“She’s been training very well lately. She hasn’t missed a beat, so we expected big things from her today. She stepped up to the plate today. We’re very happy.
“I’m not sure what (her next race) is. I’m sure (Todd) is going to talk to (owner Vincent Viola) and figure it out between the two of them.”
Florent Geroux, jockey Sine Wave, second
“I was in the two path pretty much the whole way. She tried really, really hard. The winner was the best filly in the race, but my filly dug in and tried really hard.”
Julien Leparoux, jockey Laney, third
“It was a good trip. She closed and kept with it so it was good. The winner (Sweet Loretta) went pretty easy. I thought maybe at one point we would be second, but she ran a big race.”
Robby Albarado, jockey Promises Broken, fourth
“That (being in the lead after a sharp break) wasn’t the plan. Up the backside, I was hoping and hoping someone would run up the inside so I could lay off the pace but no one did. Pace was pretty rapid. It was fast. She ran as hard as she could, as far as she could. She’s a nice filly.”
Angel Cruz, jockey Dancing Rags, sixth
“I was outside and when I tried to save some ground, the dirt hit her and she didn’t like that. When I asked her to run, she didn’t have it today. Maybe next time.”
Graham Motion, trainer Dancing Rags, sixth
“It’s a little disappointing. They ran away from her early on, which I expected, but I am surprised she didn’t run on a little bit at the end. Angel Cruz did exactly what I asked him to do, which was not to rush her. She will stretch out and go two turns next time.”