Let Her Inspire U lands first stakes in Empire Distaff

Sunday, October 30th, 2022

Let Her Inspire U, one of top-selling New York-bred 2-year-olds last year, lands first stakes victory in Sunday’s $250,000 Empire Distaff. NYRA Photo.

By Tom Law

The connections of Let Her Inspire U always held the daughter of Practical Joke in high regard. They paid $500,000 for her at last year’s Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream Sale – the co-third most for a filly at the boutique auction – and sent her to a Hall of Fame trainer for her racing career.

Let Her Inspire U took a bit to live up to the expectations – she lost her first three starts last summer and fall at Saratoga Race Course and Belmont Park – but now that she’s figured it out she’s proven tough to beat. That’s happened only once in five starts since and Let Her Inspire U added another victory to her ledger with a mild upset of the $250,000 Empire Distaff Stakes Sunday on Empire Showcase Day on the final day of the Belmont at the Big A meeting.

Owned by China Horse Club and trained by Todd Pletcher, Let Her Inspire U won the 9-furlong Empire Distaff by 2 1/4 lengths over last year’s winner Sharp Starr with Ice Princess third and Caragate fourth. Irad Ortiz Jr. rode Let Her Inspire U, who won in 1:51.88 over the fast main track.

Sent off as the 2-1 favorite in the field of eight, Let Her Inspire U and Ortiz settled early behind Brattle House through opening splits of :25.12 and :49.93. They took command with about 3 furlongs to run and past 6 furlongs in 1:13.99, just ahead of Brattle House with Ice Princess, Caragate, Frost Me, Sunset Louise and Sweet Mystery chasing and Sharp Starr trailing.

“I got a beautiful break,” Ortiz said. “I just sat in second outside of Javier’s [Castellano] horse [Brattle House] and it was a very comfortable pace. At the three-eighths pole, I let her do her thing and she picked it up. When she made the lead, I kept letting her do her thing.”

Ortiz said Let Her Inspire U had plenty left turning for home, and she took off again in the lane to open up by 2 1/2 lengths in midstretch. Sharp Starr ran on from the back of the pack but never threatened the winner, while 2 ¼ lengths ahead of Ice Princess.

“Irad was riding her pretty confident and it looked like he had plenty of horse underneath him,” said Byron Hughes, assistant to Pletcher. “She responded to him and drew off at the end. It was a good win. She’s been very consistent in the mornings and is very pleasant to be around. She’s been consistent in the afternoons and we’re very pleased for the whole team.”

Bred by Pine Ridge Stables Ltd. and foaled at Waldorf Farm in North Chatham, Let Her Inspire U sold for $90,000 to Knollwood Stables at the 2020 Fasig-Tipton Selected Yearling Showcase.

She later sold through the Top Line Sales consignment at the Gulfstream Sale for $500,000, the same price paid for another New York-bred filly, a daughter of Bernardini and half-sister to My Boy Tate. My Boy Tate won the Hudson Stakes early on the Empire Showcase Day card.

Let Her Inspire U is out of the Speightstown mare Caribbean Lady, a half-sister to multiple graded stakes winner and $672,872-earner Halory Leigh. Caribbean Lady is the dam of New York-bred winners Island Queen (by Super Saver) and Jamaica Joy (by Into Mischief) and the 2-year-old New York-bred Mendelssohn filly Caribbean Breeze, a $125,000 purchase at last year’s Fasig-Tipton New York-bred yearling sale who finished fifth in her debut Sept. 22 and is entered in the 10th race Friday at Aqueduct.

Let Her Inspire U earned $137,500 for the victory and boosted her bankroll to $350,800 from a record of 4-2-1 in eight starts.

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