Letruska and Malathaat will clash for a fourth time as they headline a field of five fillies and mares entered for Sunday’s 67th running of the Grade 1, $600,000 Spinster going 1 1/8 miles on Keeneland's main track.
The Spinster is a “win and you’re in” race for the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) to be run at Keeneland Nov. 5. The Spinster winner has come back weeks later to the win the Breeders’ Cup Distaff six times, with Bayakoa doing it twice in 1989 and 1990. The most recent horse to accomplish the double was Blue Prize in 2019.
The Spinster will go as the ninth race on Sunday’s 10-race program with a 5:45 p.m. EDT post time. First post is 1 p.m.
Trained by Fausto Gutierrez, Letruska will be bidding to become the fifth horse to win the Spinster in back-to-back years. The most recent was Blue Prize in 2018-19.
Letruska, who is 2-for-4 this year, in her most recent race was third behind Malathaat in the Personal Ensign (G1) at the 1 1/8-mile distance. Tyler Gaffalione has the mount on Letruska in the Spinster and will break from post position 3.
Malathaat, who also finished in front of Letruska in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff as well as in the Ogden Phipps (G1), is perfect in two starts at Keeneland, winning the Ashland (G1) in 2021 and opening her 2022 campaign with a victory in the Doubledogdare (G3). Trained by four-time Spinster winner Todd Pletcher, Malathaat will break from post position 9 and will be ridden by John Velasquez.
Stepping back into Grade 1 company is Played Hard.
Trained by Phil Bauer, Played Hard comes into the Spinster off a 5 3/4-length victory in the Locust Grove (G3) at Churchill Downs on Sept. 17. In her previous Grade 1 test, Played Hard finished fifth behind Malathaat in last year’s Alabama at Saratoga.
Joel Rosario has the mount on Played Hard and will break from post position 4.
Also returning to Grade 1 competition is Army Wife.
Third in the Alabama and Cotillion last year, Army Wife is 1-for-4 in 2022 for trainer Mike Maker. Luis Saez has the mount Sunday and will break from post position 2.
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