Insta Erma used every bit of the long Kentucky Downs stretch to snatch victory in the $500,000 Ladies Turf S. (G3) on Sept. 8 over the European-style turf course.
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The victory put the 5-year-old mare over the half-million dollar mark in earnings and also made her the 10th graded stakes winner for her sire Pioneerof the Nile. Prior to Saturday's win, the bay had a win in the Swingtime S. at Santa Anita last October, and placed in the Matriarch S. (G1) and Megahertz S. (G3) over the last 12 months.
Insta Erma was content to trail in the early stages of the one-mile affair, but the field was fairly compact, and she was only four lengths from the front after a half-mile in :48.60. Once the field straightened for home, Insta Erma began to gain ground, and the final furlong was a two-horse race between Valadorna and the eventual winner, who got up in time to win by a neck in 1:36.26 on the “good” turf.
“The owners are pretty happy right now,” trainer Richard Baltas said. “We’re just very grateful. She was actually coming off a layoff (first start since May 5), and we were looking for a race, and the guys said let’s send her here. They found the spot. We were thinking the Ladies Sprint or here. We thought this would probably be better, the mile. It was an owner-trainer decision and just worked out.”
Owned by Medallion Racing, Premier Racing Club, Jerry McClanahan, and Christopher Johnson, Insta Erma has a 5-4-2 record from 19 starts, with total earnings of $569,897. She was originally campaigned by her breeder Zayat Stables, until her current owners purchased her in the summer of 2017.
Insta Erma is one of 13 stakes horses this year by Pioneerof the Nile, while his lifetime stats stand at more than $32 million in earnings and 48 stakes horses.