Friday, February 24, 2012 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, Ky., Feb. 24, 2011 – Lotta Lovin takes her final step toward the Bourbonette Oaks (G3) as she heads the field for Saturday's $50,000 Valdale Stakes at Turfway Park.
The Valdale, one mile for 3-year-old fillies, is the third local prep for the March 24 Bourbonette Oaks, itself a prep for the Kentucky Oaks (G1). Lotta Lovin already scored the first two preps, taking the Gowell in December to end her 2-year-old campaign and the Cincinnati Trophy in January to begin her 3-year-old season. The Valdale will be her first try at two turns, but she won the 6 1/2 furlong Cincinnati Trophy by a seven easy lengths under leading and returning rider Victor Lebron for leading trainer Mike Maker.
Venetian Sonata is already proven at a mile, closing to finish fourth, beaten a length and a half, in the Grade 3 Arlington Washington Lassie last year. She was over her head in the Grade 1 Alcibiades at Keeneland at 1 1/16 miles and finished out of the money in two subsequent sprint stakes, so Saturday’s return to routing in the ungraded Valdale may get her back on track. She posted a best-of-35 four furlong work early this month on Tampa Bay's dirt and had a recent tune-up over the Polytrack at Turfway. The Valdale will be her first start at Turfway, but in three all-weather tries she does have one win, a Presque Isle maiden special in her debut. Venetian Sonata gets jockey Luis Martinez Jr., who won the last two Turfway stakes with long shots. Bill Helmbrecht trains.
Allegory steps up to stakes competition but already has success at two turns and at Turfway, winning here two starts back and finishing second, albeit far back, in her last start, both at a mile. She had a bit of trouble in both races, checking in traffic before the win and breaking outward before the place. Saturday marks her third U.S. start for trainer Kellyn Gorder following three starts in France. Aldo Canchano rides.
Sweetnessngoodness makes her first attempt at two turns after finishing third in the Cincinnati Trophy. She also has two wins at Turfway, a maiden special and an optional allowance, both as a 2-year-old. Mike Lauer trains. Rodney Prescott has the mount.
The Valdale field from the rail out: Lotta Lovin, Dream Pegasus (jockey Fabio Arguello Jr.); Dixie Jackpot (Marcelino Pedroza Jr.); Queen Anna (John McKee); Make a Toast (Ben Creed); Venetian Sonata; Sweetnessngoodness; and Allegory.
The Valdale Stakes is the 10th race on Saturday's 11-race card. First post is 1:10 p.m.