(Idiomatic captures the G1 La Troienne Stakes at Churchill Downs on Friday / All Photos by Holly M. Smith)

From the Churchill Downs Media Team / Darren Rogers & Kevin Kerstein:

CHAMPION IDIOMATIC RETURNS IN STYLE WITH FASIG-TIPTON LA TROIENNE VICTORY

Juddmonte’s Idiomatic, the champion older dirt female of 2023, returned to the races in style by posting a 3 ¾-length victory over Free Like a Girl in the 39th running of the $1 million Fasig-Tipton La Troienne (GI) for fillies and mares Friday afternoon, the first of seven stakes races on the Kentucky Oaks program.

Trained by Brad Cox and ridden by Florent Geroux, Idiomatic completed the mile and sixteenth over a sloppy track in 1:43.24. It is the third victory in the race for Cox and Geroux, who teamed up to score in 2020 with Monomoy Girl and in 2021 with Shedaresthedevil.

Dorth Vader set the pace, cutting out fractions of :23.53 and :47 with Idiomatic in closest pursuit. On the far turn, Idiomatic slipped to the inside of Dorth Vader to take command.

In the stretch, Idiomatic disposed of Dorth Vader and repulsed a bid from 2023 Kentucky Oaks winner and champion 3-year-old filly of last year Pretty Mischievous to pull away for her sixth consecutive victory and ninth in her past 10 starts.

Idiomatic returned $3.66, $2.66 and $2.10. Free Like a Girl, ridden by Corey Lanerie, returned $5.80 and $2.92 and finished a length and a half in front of Pretty Mischievous, who paid $2.48 to show under Tyler Gaffalione.

It was another three-quarters of a length back to Dorth Vader with Xigera finishing fifth.

LA TROIENNE QUOTES

 

Florent Geroux (jockey, Idiomatic, winner) – “Yeah for sure, she was the class of the field. We didn’t break as fast as I anticipated. There were a couple fillies in there who weren’t settling well and I broke a little flat-footed. I tried to get her in a good spot and I was very content to sit off the flank of the leader on the backside. My filly once she started getting into her stride, you could tell she was getting into a nice rhythm and from there she just went on. You could tell she was looking around a little bit, she gets a little distracted sometimes but she looks like she’s back to her old self.”

Brad Cox (trainer, Idiomatic, winner) – “Great effort. I was hoping we’d either get the lead or track the outside horse. We found ourselves traveling in the inside position, which is not ideal. There was a little concern when he (Florent Geroux) started knuckling down on her a little bit but she really responded. She cut the corner and kind of felt some of that pressure and kicked away.

          “I think she runs on anything. I really do believe that. I mean, she obviously put in a good effort here today and she’s performed on synthetics, she’s performed on the fast dirt obviously. But (the wet track) is always a concern. There is always a lot of pressure when they’re the price she is and coming off a layout and with the resume she got being a champion. I enjoy being in the position but race had some anxiety behind it.”

Corey Lanerie (jockey, Free Like a Girl, second) – “She ran great. This is one of the toughest tasks she has had in a while. I was a little worried when the favorite (Idiomatic) didn’t break so well but he (Florent Geroux) got up there and got his position. The race set up like I thought. I was hoping my mare would relax and I was hoping they would bang heads up front and come back to me. They all came back but one.”

Tyler Gaffalione (jockey, Pretty Mischievous, third) – “I thought it was a credible effort. It was the first time off a layoff and she was bound to get tired. The sloppy track didn’t do us any favors today. It’s never been her favorite surface and she struggled quite a bit down the lane. Very proud of her effort and hopefully it’s a good year for her.”