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Race of the Week: Royal Delta at Gulfstream | Saturday, February 26, 2022

by Jeremy Plonk

February 24, 2022


The Lead:
Eclipse Award winner LETRUSKA makes her first start since being named Champion Older Dirt Female of 2021. She'll return to where it all began in her US racing career, Gulfstream Park. She was unknown to the American audience when winning the 2019 Copa del Caribe for international runners at the Hallandale oval. When she appears in the 1-1/16 miles G3 Royal Delta Stakes, her name will be top of mind to all involved.

​Field Depth:
Multiple G1 winner LETRUSKA has a massive class edge on this group. CRAZY BEAUTIFUL is a G2 winner and G1-placed and clear-cut second in the strength of resume category, but has not met elders. The rest much to prove in terms of resume, topped by listed stakes winners KEY BISCAYNE and IL MALOCCHIO.

LETRUSKA does her best work on the front and coming in fresh should be expected to come out firing. The pace pressure should come from INTO VANISHING and FAMILY TIME, both draw to her inside. But if she wants the lead, she gets it from them.

Our Eyes:
LETRUSKA got burnt in the Breeders' Cup pace duel at the tail of an extremely ambitious campaign all over the country. Her series of bullet workouts at Palm Meadows for the return indicate she's sharp and will come out running. Under just 123 pounds, there's not a wild weight spread, giving 3-5 pounds. She's beaten better than these while carrying 124, so the assignment won't be a detriment.

Gulfstream Park Oaks winner CRAZY BEAUTIFUL has been one of the better fillies in the crop of 2018. She was G1-competitive at ages 2 and 3, and you'd expect her to transition into the elder ranks with similar success. She's won over this course and distance, so the variables are few. She's only had 3 workouts published, all in the last 3 weeks, so it's fair to wonder if she'll be as fit as need-be to play in LETRUSKA's rare air.

Those 2 will be the obvious top 2 choices on the tote and provide a very skinny exacta. The develop any value in the betting here, you'll have to get a secondary player into the exacta not named CRAZY BEAUTIFUL.

​With LETRUSKA expected up front, the close pursuers of her into the far turn likely will be left gassed. A late-running bottom to the exacta is the desired style. IL MALOCCHIO trainer Marty Drexler has had his horses on point in the past week-plus, and this filly has run respectably on dirt, synthetic and turf. HELPING LISA D would be the other late-running contender on style and has a promising local dirt record against weaker.

Most Certain Exotics Contender:
LETRUSKA should take these to task.​

Best Longshot Exotics Contender:
HELPING LISA D gets a set-up to pass some tired horses for a share.

Sending it in ($100 bankroll):
$75 exacta LETRUSKA over IL MALOCCHIO. $25 exacta LETRUSKA over HELPING LISA D.