Lady Lara and company deliver the victory in Fasig-Tipton De La Rose
by Karen M. Johnson
Lady Lara, who is foal to Uncle Mo, didn't let a little extra baggage stand in the way of winning the $100,000 Fasig-Tipton De La Rose Stakes at Saratoga Race Course on Saturday.
The 5-year-old rocketed through an opening on the rail during the stretch run of the one-mile turf race over the inner course, and posted a one-length victory over Stormy Victoria. It was another length back to Zindaya in third. Roca Rojo, the 2-1 favorite in the field of nine fillies and mares, finished fourth.
After the De La Rose, Lady Lara's trainer, Bill Mott, said the mare had run her last race.
"She actually has really blossomed since she's become pregnant," said Mott, who was winning the De La Rose for a second time. "She started working faster and become stronger. I guess they get some kind of endorphin rush from being pregnant, it worked out well with her."
It also worked out perfectly for winning jockey Jose Lezcano, who found a sweet spot on the inside and tracked the pacesetters, Mayla and Robillard, through fractions of 25.37, 49.96 and 1:13.51 The leaders appeared to spurt away from Lady Lara around the far turn, but Lezcano asked his mount for more, and she delivered.
"She broke very good and gave me a good position without asking," Lezcano said. "She had a very good trip the whole way around. When I asked her, she responded for me. I wanted to stay behind and wait and see what happened. I came along the inside [in the stretch]."
Mott gave kudos to Lezcano for saving ground.
"There's one thing about Jose, he's not afraid to stay on the inside and take a chance," Mott said. "I thought he was going to push his way out, but it must have opened at the fence. She was really reaching out in the stretch."
Owned by Ben Sangster, Lady Lara, a daughter of Excellent Art, was bred in Ireland. The De La Rose was her first win since capturing last November's Grade 3 My Charmer Handicap at Gulfstream Park West. In her prep for the De La Rose, Lady Lara finished fourth in the Grade 1 Just a Game at Belmont Park June 11.
With her win in the 13th running of the De La Rose, Lady Lara elevated her earnings to $781,203. She ends her career with a record of 6-5-4 in 26 starts.
Running as the 3-1 second choice, Lady Lara returned $8.40 for a $2 win bet. She completed the distance in 1:35.88 over a firm course.
The order of finish was completed by My Sweet Girl, Robillard, Excilly, Bitty Kitty and Mayla.