Her career was short, but filled with brilliance. Anyone who happened to watch her live saw a Thoroughbred that possessed rare talent. Nobody ever beat her, and she did more than defeat her competition on race days. She mandhandled them while delivering an electric and sublime running style that dazzled fans who saw her compete.
She was bred for greatness, being the daughter of a Triple Crown winner. She knew how to win, and in her five career starts during the summer and fall of 1982, Landaluce (pronounced Land-a-lucy) proved to be a champion.
Debuting in a maiden special weight contest at Hollywood Park in early July of 1982, this D. Wayne Lukas charge, who was owned by L.R. French and Barry Beal, wasted no time announcing her arrival on the Southern California racing scene. Establishing the lead early, Landaluce drew away from the opposition, already ahead by daylight as she began the final stretch. The lead only grew from there, and Landaluce was eight lengths clear of the runner up.
Just one week later, the filly was back in action in the Grade II Hollywood Lassie Stakes. If her initial outing was stellar, then her first try against winners (in one of the highest levels of competition no less) was spectacular. After staying close to the leader in second, Landaluce took the lead in the far turn, putting distance between herself and her rivals in the span of a few seconds. She was unstoppable in the stretch, just increasing her lead while making it look easy. The margin of victory was far higher than it was seven days earlier, and racing had a new star.
Landaluce resurfaced in the Grade II Del Mar Debutante in September, which presented her first test at routing. The race was much like the Hollywood Lassie in terms of running style, for Landaluce tracked the pacesetter in second before overtaking her for the lead in the second turn. From that point on, the lead belonged to the up and coming daughter of Seattle Slew. The margin of victory was more than seven lengths.
Following Del Mar was the annual Oak Tree meet at Santa Anita in the autumn, and Landaluce's first start at the Arcadia track was the Grade I Oak Leaf Stakes. Already ahead most of her rivals, Landaluce engaged in a three-way duel for the lead in the backstretch. She was not afraid of the two she was battling, and did not back down. No, she took the lead in after moving into the far turn, looking as if she was just strolling along. She did not win the Oak Leaf by many lengths, but she was battle tested in the race while staying undefeated.
Less than two weeks later, start number five came in the Anoakia Stakes at Santa Anita, a seven furlong contest. Landaluce was on the far outside, but she did not let that keep her from the front. The race was over in the stretch, with no one offering a challenge to the dominating filly. She reached the wire well ahead of the rest of the field.
In just a few months, Landaluce had become an exciting horse with the sheer ability to thoroughly dominate those who raced against her. Many who saw her had to wonder what she could do over the remaining duration of her juvenile season, along with when she turned three and beyond.
Sadly, Landaluce never got the chance to show her talent on track after the Anoakia. Just over a month later, a virus struck Landaluce, and the filly passed away suddenly, leaving a career that was both memorable but unfulfilled.
She was buried at Hollywood Park, the site of her most dominating victory, and she would remain there until the track's closure in 2013. Following the news that Hollywood Park would stop racing, Landaluce was transported to Spendthrift Farm, her place of birth.
The Hollywood Lassie was subsequently renamed the Landaluce Stakes to honor the reigning champion of the race, and it stayed at Hollywood Park through the track's final season before moving over to Santa Anita. Following a 2018 hiatus, the Landaluce is back for 2019.
When it came to her career, Landaluce was similar to Ruffian in the sense their careers were short, yet they were fast, strong, and had that propensity to win.
It is coming up on four decades since Landaluce last raced, but those who were in Southern California during the summer and fall of 1982 remember the green silks with white dots at the front of those races. They also remember a majestic filly who was brilliant from the start.