Lady Sheila Stable's La Verdad turned the $100,000 Interborough Stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack into a cakewalk Jan. 9, easily winning her season debut to set herself up for another start before retirement.
Sheila Rosenblum's 6-year-old New York-bred daughter of Yes It's True, a finalist for champion female sprinter honors at the Jan. 16 Eclipse Awards, is set to be bred to Medaglia d'Oro this season. But thanks to her 2 3/4-length Interborough win, she will first target the Feb. 13 Barbara Fritchie (gr. II) at Laurel Park, a race in which she came in second in 2014.
La Verdad finished second in the Oct. 31 TwinSpires Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (gr. I) to fellow Eclipse nominee Wavell Avenue, and Nov. 26 ran sixth in the Fall Highweight Handicap (gr. III) to close out 2015.
"We brought her home from the Breeders' Cup, and after the Fall Highweight that was somewhat disappointing," trainer Linda Rice said. "She trained well, we kept her in New York and made plans to breed her to Medaglia (d'Oro). Sheila and I spoke about it and said, 'Well, she's doing so well, let's see if we can win a race or two with her before she goes.' We will be pointed to the Barbara Fritchie off of this, so hopefully she can get another win and go out a winner."
Favored at 2-5 in a field of six for the six-furlong Interborough, La Verdad broke well from post 5 and galloped out to the early lead, neck-and-neck with 51-1 shot Fat Kat, who raced on the rail from post 2. Jockey Jose Ortiz had his mount relaxed on the outside as the first quarter went in :23.22, and La Verdad easily dispatched her longshot rival through a half in :46.13.
"I broke good and felt we were in good position, even though the No. 2 horse got a little bit of a jump on me," Ortiz said. "Little by little (we) got to her. I got there and by the time I was in front I just took it easy. I waited a little bit more then I let her go around the turn. Linda brought her in at 100 percent and ready for this race. When I asked her to go she went very well."
Rolling off the turn with her overmatched competitors in pursuit, the bay mare opened up by three lengths while running five-eighths in :58.05, kept to the task by a few right-handed reminders, then finished on the fast inner track under a confident hand ride in a final time of 1:10.65.
"When you've got a filly that has won as much as she has, it puts a little extra pressure on us," Rice said. "It's a little nerve-wracking, but I don't think you can operate out of fear. The filly doesn't owe anybody anything. We enjoy racing her."
La Verdad returned $2.80 and $2.10. Dancing House closed to get second and was worth $4.80 at 8-1. There was no show wagering. Room for Me, Princess Violet, Jubilant Vision, and Fat Kat completed the order of finish. Willet scratched.
Bred by Eklektikos Stable out of the Hook and Ladder mare Noble Fire and purchased privately by Rosenblum, La Verdad now owns a record of sixteen wins and three seconds from 25 starts for earnings of $1,563,200.