The Fugue swept past front-runner Venus de Milo more than a furlong out and cruised clear to victory Aug. 22 in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks (Eng-I), halting a four-race winless skid.
Runner-up in last year’s edition of the race, the 4-year-old Dansili filly made amends in impressive fashion as the 2-1 favorite this year. She pulled away from Darley Irish Oaks (Ire-I) runner-up and 9-4 second favorite Venus de Milo en route to a four-length triumph. German Oaks (Ger-I) runner-up Secret Gesture rallied from near the back of the field to finish third.
With the win, The Fugue earned a guaranteed starting spot in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) at 1 1/4 miles Nov. 2 at Santa Anita Park. As the 8-5 favorite in last year’s race, she finished third to Zagora after being caught in traffic for much of the race.
The Fugue posted the second group I win of her career. Prior to her second in last year’s Yorkshire Oaks, she captured the Markel Insurance Nassau Stakes (Eng-I) at Goodwood. She competed against males in her two previous starts this season, finishing a creditable third to Al Kazeem and Mukhadram in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes (Eng-I) June 19 at Royal Ascot in her season bow. She was a well-beaten seventh to Al Kazeem in the Coral Eclipse Stakes (Eng-I) July 6 at Sandown.
Back against her own sex in the Yorkshire Oaks, The Fugue proved too good for her six opponents.
"I'm so delighted for the filly," winning rider William Buick told Racing Post. "She's shown everybody her full potential and it's really nice she did it so well.”
Scintillula took charge out of the gate and maintained a clear lead as Venus de Milo stalked from second and The Fugue patiently tracked off the pace. Venus de Milo reeled in the pacesetter to take charge a quarter mile out and led for a furlong before The Fugue advanced to challenge. Shaking free of Venus de Milo, she covered 1 1/2 miles in 2:28.29 on firm turf.
"When the ground's like this, it can be hard to make up ground but she saw it out really well, she was awesome today.” Buick said. “She really bounced off the ground."
John Gosden, who trains the filly for composer and musical impresario Andrew Lloyd-Webber, was impressed with The Fugue’s performance.
"I think she's done well to come back from the Eclipse, it's a testament to her,” he told Racing Post. “She's proven she's tough and mentally strong."
The Fugue improved her record four wins, two seconds, and three thirds from 11 career starts. Her resume includes her third-place finish in the 2012 Epsom Oaks (Eng-I).
Bred in England by Webber’s Watership Down Stud, The Fugue is out of stakes-placed Twyla Tharp, by Sadler’s Wells. Twyla Tharp is a half sister to English group I winners Compton Admiral and Summoner. The Fugue is from the eighth crop of Juddmonte Farms stallion Dansili, a 17-year-old son of Danehill who has 84 stakes winners from 10 crops racing. He stands at Banstead Manor Stud in Newmarket.
The Yorkshire Oaks was one of two Breeders' Cup Challenge "Win and You're In" races on the card.
Graham Lodge Partnership's Lucky Kristale earned a starting berth in the $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (gr. IT) at one mile, also on Nov. 2, with her convincing victory in the six-furlong Connolly's Red Mills Lowther Stakes (Eng-II).
The Lucky Story filly, the joint 5-2 favorite, rallied up the stands' side rail to overtake runner-up Queen Catrine and third-place finisher Wind Fire and win by 1 1/2 lengths under top weight of 127 pounds and jockey Tom Queally.
Conceding three pounds to her eight opponents, Lucky Kristale was timed in 1:10.58 to earn her fourth win from five career starts and second straight group win. She entered off a 2 1/4-length triumph in the Duchess of Cambridge Cherry Hinton Stakes (Eng-II) July 12 at Newmarket.
Previously unbeaten J Wonder, also at 5-2, tracked the early leaders but failed to threatened in the final furlong and finished seventh.
Trainer George Margarson told Racing Post that he would speak to the owners about a possible trip to the United Stakes for the Breeders' Cup for Lucky Kristale, whom he bought for $35,358 at the 2012 Tattersalls October yearling sale. Her next start is expected to the the Cheveley Park Stakes (Eng-I) Sept. 28 at Newmarket.
Bred in Great Britain by Lilac Bloodstock and Redmyre Bloodstock, Lucky Kristale is out of the Pivotal mare Pikaboo, a half sister to multiple group II winner Arabian Gleam. She is from the sixth and final crop of multiple group winner Lucky Story, a son of Kris S., who apparently died in his sleep at age 9 in 2010. His top offspring is group I-winning sprinter Art Connoisseur.