La Traviata Hits High Note in Victory Ride Romp

Trainer Patrick Biancone has been telling people that his undefeated 3-year-old filly La Traviata is something special. After the way she demolished a field of talented sophomores despite stumbling badly at the start of the $114,700 Victory Ride (gr. III) at steamy Saratoga Aug. 25, many will take notice.

Ridden by Julien Leparoux, the 4-5 choice La Traviata overcame her misstep to quickly sprint to the front in the six-furlong dash. Setting a strong pace, she was uncontested by the time she reached the head of the stretch, rolling to a 9 1/4-length win under wraps in a smart time of 1:09 3/5.

A $1.1 million 2-year-old purchase by Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith at Fasig-Tipton's Florida sale in February 2006, La Traviata has won the first three starts of her career, all at odds-on. The dark bay daughter of Johannesburg--Piedras Negas, by Unbridled, won those three starts by a combined margin of 27 1/2 lengths.

“There’s nothing much to say. She’s unbelievable,” said Biancone.

Leparoux guided La Traviata to a quick two-length lead as Appealing Zophie, Magical Ride and Half Time Crown gave chase through fractions of :22.13 for the quarter and :45.20 for the half. As the field turned for home, La Traviata rapidly opened up the lead with little urging, while 54-1 shot Half Time Crown edged past Appealing Zophie for the runner-up spot.

“I didn’t have to do much too much,” said Leparoux. “She did it herself. It’s nice. When she switched leads in the stretch, she just went. So far, she has done everything perfect.”

The filly is now three-for-three at different tracks: Churchill Downs, Monmouth and Saratoga. “Today, she took the lead and relaxed," Biancone said. "She was waiting for the ones to catch up to her. The plan is to do what we have done, and that plan is to go the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint.”

The $1-million, six-furlong Filly & Mare Sprint is a new addition to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships. It will be run at Monmouth Oct. 26.

La Traviata, who paid $3.70, $3.30 and $2.70, collected $68,820 with the win to increase her lifetime earnings to $129,248.

Half Time Crown, ridden by Cornelio Velasquez, returned $27.80 and $12.60, rounding out a $157 exacta. She took second by 1 1/4 lengths over Appealing Zophie, Shaun Bridgmohan aboard, who was $5.30 to show. Appealing Zophie was making her first start at Saratoga since winning the Spinaway (gr. I) as a 2-year-old nearly a year ago.

Debbie Got Even finished fourth, followed by Graeme Six, Allude, Time's Mistress, Magical Ride, Russian Gypsy and Musical Start. Scratches were Featherbed, Street Sass and Ticket To Seattle.

(Chart, Equibase)

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