Stonestreet Stables’ Valadorna kicked off her season in style on Friday, coming home a half-length winner in her 3-year-old bow for trainer Mark Casse. Long highly regarded, the homebred daughter of Curlin was making her first start since a runner-up effort to recently crowned champion Champagne Room in the Grade I $ 2,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.
Racing last early on, she angled out at the top of the lane and turned in a grinding run under a confident ride to collar longtime leader What What What in the final yards. The bay filly proved what many already knew — that she will be one to watch as the Grade I $ 1,000,000 Kentucky Oaks approaches. Regular rider Julien Leparoux was in for the race.
“She felt good,” Leparoux said. “For her first race back, she had been breezing good, but it’s nice to have a nice race under her belt. You can breeze them as many times as you want, but a race like that makes them ready a bit more.”
“It was good,” Casse added. “We were a little worried because we missed a gate work with her because of the fog, and that probably made her a little slower than normal out of there. This is the way we like to do things. This worked out nice, and we’re trying to get ready for the [Kentucky Oaks].”
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