Saturday, February 25, 2012 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, Ky., Feb. 25, 2012 – Lotta Lovin proved that two turns are as easy as one Saturday at Turfway Park, where she won the one-mile $50,000 Valdale Stakes by 3 1/2 lengths over Sweetnessngoodness. Dixie Jackpot, off at 46-1, was another four lengths back in third. Final time was 1:39.59.
The win gave Lotta Lovin a three-for-three sweep of local stakes leading to the Bourbonette Oaks (G3) on the Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes undercard on March 24. After watching the race from Fair Grounds, where he saddled five starters on Saturday, trainer Mike Maker confirmed plans to enter Lotta Lovin in the Bourbonette.
"She's won three in a row there now and each one more impressively than the last, so it (the Bourbonette) looks like a wise move," Maker said.
With Victor Lebron aboard, Lotta Lovin stumbled a bit from her inside post in the field of eight 3-year-old fillies and then dueled very briefly with Queen Anna. Lebron quickly settled her just off the pace as Queen Anna set the quarter mark in :24.29. Sweetnessngoodness took over second before Queen Anna's :49.15 half mile mark and held that spot as Dixie Jackpot ranged up outside to take the lead with a quarter-mile to go. Dixie Jackpot's advantage was short-lived, surrendered at the top of the stretch to Sweetnessngoodness. Lebron had meanwhile angled Lotta Lovin out for her run and from just past the eighth-pole the race was hers.
"She's a speed horse and there was a lot of speed in the race," said Lebron. "I looked over and saw that Johnny (McKee) was sending 'Queen,' and I thought, 'Let's relax, I don't want to get in a speed duel.' So I laid right off of (Queen Anna) and then got back in a position where she was comfortable. I wanted to wait as much as I could because I had a lot of horse and I saw everybody was doing premature moves trying to get the jump on me. So I waited, waited, waited, tugged her out slowly, and then when she saw daylight she just took off. I could have gotten the lead at any time in the race."
Fourth and following were Dream Pegasus, Venetian Sonata, Make a Toast, Queen Anna, and Allegory. Allegory reared in the gate and kicked open her stall a split-second before the start and was declared a non-starter. All wagers involving Allegory were refunded.
Lotta Lovin was the 4-5 favorite and returned $3.60, $2.80, and $2.80.
By Repent out of Passionate Terri, by Unzipped, Lotta Lovin was bred in Pennsylvania by Horses of Course Inc. She now has five wins in 10 career starts and earnings of $135,683. She has been owned since her fourth start by William Butler. Maker took over her training from Marty Wolfson in November after her sixth start.
Racing continues at Turfway Sunday at 1:10 p.m.