HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Con Lima went from bridesmaid to bride Saturday at Gulfstream Park, where the Todd Pletcher-trained daughter of Commissioner finished second but was placed first in the $100,000 Herecomesthebride (G3) via the disqualification of first-place finisher Spanish Loveaffair.
The Herecomesthebride, a 1 1/16-mile turf stakes for 3-year-old fillies, kicked off a 14-race program with nine stakes worth more than $1.4 million, headlined by the $300,000 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth (G2), a key prep for the $750,000 Curlin Florida Derby (G1) presented by Hill n’ Dale Farm at Xalapa.
Con Lima ($6), who finished second in the Jan. 30 Sweetest Chant (G3) after setting the early pace, rallied from well off the early pace to finish a well-beaten second behind Spanish Loveaffair, the 8-5 favorite who drew off to finish first by 2 ¾ lengths.
However, the stewards subsequently ruled following a lengthy inquiry that Spanish Loveaffair interfered with eventual fourth-place finisher I Get It leaving the backstretch, placing the Mark Casse trainee from first to fourth.
Mail Order set the pace under Junior Alvarado, producing fractions of 23.80 and 48.10 seconds for the first half-mile with Joy of Painting and Spanish Loveaffair in close attendance. I Get it advanced quickly on the rail along the backstretch to slip inside Spanish Loveaffair but dropped back several lengths after bumping with the favorite. Spanish Loveaffair would go on to sweep to the lead with a three-wide move into the stretch to prevail by a comfortable margin. Con Lima rallied four-wide on the turn to finish second, a length ahead of Joy of Painting, who finished a nose ahead of re-rallying I Get It.
Spanish Loveaffair, who was making her first start since finishing sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, ran 1 1/16 miles over a firm turf course in 1:41.30.
Winning Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr.; “Our plan was to go to the lead but the filly, unfortunately, didn’t break that good. After that I just had to go to Plan B. That wasn’t even our Plan B. It was Plan C, I guess. She relaxed and just sat and waited for me. I had to start working on her a little early, but she performed well and kept coming. [Spanish Loveaffair] was a better filly today, but she’s a very good filly.”
Press Release- Gulfstream Park/ Photo Credit- Tim Sullivan