angle-left Miss Princess Stakes

Miss Princess Stakes

La Rusa gives jockey Oscar Andrade Jr. his first stakes win.

text size

Howard Nichols' La Rusa, a 4-year-old California-bred Walk Thru Fire mare, earned her first stakes victory in Sunday's Grade 3, $50,000 Miss Princess Handicap for distaffers at Los Alamitos.

Prepped by Jose Flores and sent to post at odds of 23-1, La Rusa went 350 yards in :17.676, and her winning margin was a head from 4-1 third choice Strawfinders Jessee. Oscar Andrade Jr., 17, rode the sorrel mare, giving the young jockey his first career stakes victory.

La Rusa was bred by Balgo Racing Team Inc. Raced exclusively in California, she has won four of 22 starts and has banked $76,116.

“She’s had some bad luck,” Nichols said. “She’s gotten run over a few times. She didn’t want to break. We were about to give up so we decided to start training her a little different and give her another chance. She drew the outside (tonight), and she came through for us. Maybe she still got some run in her for the rest of the year.”

La Rusa’s connections did not have any racing plans for the mare beyond the Miss Princess.

“We’ll probably going to regroup and come up with some plans for her,” Nichols added. “We had been a little disappointed, but she showed us tonight that she’s got the talent. She’ll get another chance in the next race.”

La Rusa was a $40,000 yearling buy at the Los Alamitos Equine Sale. Her stakes resume includes a second-place finish in the 2017 California Breeders' Freshman Fillies Stakes (R). 

Meanwhile, Andrade Jr. gave his mother, Elena Andrade, the best Mother’s Day present she could dream of. 

“I’m grateful that the owner gave me this opportunity,” Andrade Jr. said. “I’ve been riding this filly for her last outs. We had a little bit of trouble, (but) we finally got it together and won a stakes.

"My mother said it was the best Mother’s Day present ever," he added. "I think the owners have given me chances with amazing horses. They’ve pretty much taught me. Instead of having me make errors, they’ve given me good horses to learn on, and I’ve been correcting my mistakes from there.”  

Madam Of Fire MV finished third and was followed by Love To Reason BR, Time To Leave, Just Walk By, Newport Coaster, Kiss N Air, Pick A Favorite and Zendaya.

AQHA News and information is a service of the American Quarter Horse Association. For more news and information, follow @AQHA Racing on Twitter, "like" Q-Racing on Facebook, and visit