TORONTO, September19, 2021 – Wild Beauty, under Frankie Dettori, punched her ticket to the Breeders’ Cup with an impressive win in Sunday’s Grade 1 $401,600 Natalma Stakes at Woodbine.
A victory in the one-mile turf race for rookie fillies earned the British-bred a fees-paid berth in the Grade 1 $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, which will be run at Del Mar this year on November 5.
Wild Beauty, owned and bred by Godolphin, arrived at the Natalma off a pair of runner-up performances in England, and was the 7-5 choice in the field of 10.
The start was less than ideal for the daughter of Frankel, but the finish was certainly pleasing for her connections.
Wild Beauty hopped coming out of the gate, was squeezed and then shuffled back to last as Cardio Princess took the lead, with 69-1 Guileful and 13-1 Ready Lady dueling in behind the pacesetter. Royal Engagement sat fourth and Pizza Bianca, second choice at 3-1, was fifth after a quarter in :23.35.
It was status quo for the top five through a half timed in :47.03, as Dettori and Wild Beauty began to make headway, moving into seventh spot.
When the field rounded the turn for the long stretch drive, Wild Beauty was full of run on the outside, methodically picking off her rivals, one by one.
At the stretch call, the Charlie Appleby trainee was 1 ½-lengths clear and rolling. By mid-stretch, she was firing on all cylinders, going on to notch a 2 ¼-length victory in a time of 1:35.08 over good going.
Pizza Bianca held for second, besting a late-charging Eminent Victor by 1 ¼-lengths, while Lady Barbara rallied stoutly to finish fourth.
Wild Beauty, now a winner of three of six starts, returned $4.90.
“Look, it was a bit of a worry,” said assistant trainer Alex Merriam, of the troubled start. “Seemed to me, when she broke on turns, she stumbled a bit. We’ll have to watch it again and see what Frankie says.”
“She just backed out of that pocket,” noted Dettori. “Then for my luck, they went way too fast, and by the time we got to the quarter pole, it all just fell into my lap and she picked up really well.”
The decision as to whether to step into the Breeders’ Cup spotlight in early November will be made once the filly returns to her home base.
“We’ll have to wait until they get her home,” offered Merriam. “See how she comes out of it. Look, she really was impressive there and we’ll have to get home to see what Charlie wants to do and make a plan from there. I’m sure he’ll have an idea of what he wants to do there anyway.”
If she does run, Dettori will hope for the luck of the draw. Literally.
“You rely very much on the draw, the straight is half of the size of this, so you need all the luck. She’s definitely good enough to take part, but you need to be lucky at Del Mar.”
It was the second Natalma crown for Appleby, who took the 2018 edition with Goldolphin silk bearer La Pelosa.
One race after the Natalma, the connections won the Grade 1 Summer with Albahr (GB). On Saturday, Dettori, Appleby and Godolphin teamed to take the Grade 1 Pattison Canadian International with Walton Street.