SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Stonestreet Stables’ Love Reigns (IRE) breezed a half-mile in 48.66 seconds Friday over the Oklahoma training turf in preparation for the $150,000 Bolton Landing, a 5 1/2-furlong turf sprint for juvenile fillies on August 21 at Saratoga Race Course.
Trained by Wesley Ward, the Irish-bred daughter of U S Navy Flag graduated by 9 3/4-lengths in her April debut sprinting 5 1/2-furlongs over the Keeneland turf ahead of a close fourth last out in the Group 2 Queen Mary on June 15 at Royal Ascot.
Ward noted that Love Reigns lost some time after the Queen Mary due to illness, but has thrived at Saratoga where she has now breezed four times over the Oklahoma training turf.
“She’s doing great,” Ward said. “She’s had no hiccups since Ascot and we’re looking forward to getting her back. She’s been up at Saratoga and had several breezes on the grass, including today, and she’s ready to go.”
The Ward-trained No Kay Never (IRE), also owned by Barbara Banke’s Stonestreet Stables, is nominated to both the Bolton Landing and the $150,000 Skidmore, a 5 1/2-furlong turf sprint against the boys on August 19.
No Kay Never was an impressive maiden winner on May 30 at Horseshoe Indianapolis, but Ward said he may try to separate the stablemates.
“We’ll look at both races. She’ll breeze Sunday on the grass,” Ward said. “Barbara owns them both. We may go against the boys. We’ll have a little further discussion.”
Lael Stables’ Arrest Me Red is targeting the Grade 2, $1 million Turf Sprint on September 10 at Kentucky Downs, while Hat Creek Racing’s Illegal Smile is pointed to the $150,000 Smart N Fancy, a 5 1/2-furlong turf sprint for older fillies and mares on August 20 at Saratoga.
Arrest Me Red, a 4-year-old Pioneerof the Nile bay, has won 6-of-10 starts, including scores in last year’s Grade 3 Belmont Turf Sprint Invitational and the Grade 2 Turf Sprint in May at Churchill Downs. He was a close second last out on June 11 at Belmont in the Grade 1 Jaipur to Casa Creed, who is entered in Saturday’s Grade 1, $500,000 Fourstardave here.
Ward credited the winner for a superior effort on the day.
“He got a beautiful trip following us around there and then it kind of parted where he got a ground saving trip and got out. He was the best horse on the day,” Ward said.
Ward said Andrew Farm and For the People Racing’s No Nay Hudson (IRE), a juvenile No Nay Never colt, will make his turf debut in the Skidmore. The $190,000 Keeneland September Yearling Sale purchase graduated on debut in April in a 4 1/2-furlong maiden special weight at Keeneland ahead of a fourth-place finish in the Tremont in June at Belmont where he was compromised at the break.
Ward, 54, is enjoying a tremendous Saratoga meet with a record of 20-5-5-4 led by graded scores from Chi Town Lady in the Grade 1 Longines Test, Golden Pal in the Grade 3 Troy and Kimari in the Grade 2 Honorable Miss Handicap. He noted that Chi Town Lady is already back at his Keeneland base with Golden Pal set to arrive later today.
The veteran conditioner, who was named Outstanding Apprentice Jockey in 1984, said putting good horses in the right spots is the key to his Spa success.
“I’m older now and have some white hair and I’m just trying to pick my spots and enter the horses that are doing very, very good and trying not to enter just to enter,” Ward said. “A lot of owners like to have runners up there, but I’m at the stage of my career where I’m bluntly honest with them and will tell them it’s fun to have a run, but it’s not fun to not run so well.”
NYRA Press Office
Main Photo: Love Reigns crushing her debut by 9 3/4 lengths at Keeneland April 29, 2022. (Keeneland/Coady)