La Collina Springs Surprise in Phoenix Stakes

La Collina rallied strongly in the final furlong to capture the $255,500 Keeneland Phoenix Stakes (Ire-I) by a neck over Power at the Curragh Aug. 7.

Dismissed at odds of 33-1, the daughter of Strategic Prince had only a maiden win to her credit prior to the Phoenix. She did, however, sport a strong second-place finish in the Silver Flash Stakes (Ire-III), which was her most recent start. That loss came at the hands of the filly Maybe, who earlier in the day kept her perfect record intact with a victory in the Keeneland Debutante Stakes (Ire-II).

A field of nine 2-year-olds went to the post in the Phoenix, with favoritism going to Aidan O’Brien’s Power. The undefeated son of Oasis Dream was one of three O’Brien trainees in the race, as the Ballydoyle conditioner looked to add another Phoenix victory to his current total of 11.

La Collina was settled toward the back of the pack by Declan McDonough as Lilbourne Lad was sent to the front to set the pace under Richard Hughes. They were soon joined by Power and Parish Hall, and the three colts raced as a team through the early stages of the race.

With two furlongs left to go, Power took command and edged to a slight lead under Seamie Heffernan. Lilbourne Lad was under a drive by Hughes, but was beginning to fade. La Collina was advancing on the leaders as she wove her way through the field from eighth.

Power led in the final furlong, but La Collina, under an all-out drive by McDonough, continued her charge, eventually overhauling Power near the wire for the victory.

Power had to settle for second, 1 3/4 lengths in front of the late-closing Tough As Nails. Final time for the six furlongs was 1:13.30 over the good to yielding turf course.

La Collina is trained by Kevin Prendergast, who told reporters after the race, “We were considering the Debutante Stakes, but were beaten by Maybe at Leopardstown; we decided to take on the colts and hoped we could run in the first three.”

La Collina was bred in Ireland by Manister House Stud, and is owned by Joerg Vasicek. The bay filly is out of Starfish, an unraced daughter of Galileo.

 

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