Love Reigns finds a seam along the rail and scores in the Limestone (Keeneland Photo)
Keeneland Press Release
LEXINGTON, Ky.— In the $250,000 FanDuel Limestone, Love Reigns (IRE) overcame a tough trip in the stretch to run down stablemate Lady Hollywood in the final 20 yards to notch her second stakes victory.
Trained by Wesley Ward and ridden by Joel Rosario, Love Reigns covered the 5½ furlongs on a firm turf course in 1:02.45. It is the second victory in the race for both with Ward winning last year with Ruthin (GB) and Rosario riding Ginger Nut (IRE) to victory in 2019.
Accomplished Girl led the field through fractions of :21.49 and :44.50 as Love Reigns had a ground-saving trip while racing in midpack.
In the upper stretch, Love Reigns was bottled up behind horses and had to check. By midstretch, Rosario found a seam along the rail and dived to the inside only to swing out again to challenge Accomplished Girl.
Meanwhile, John Velazquez had a clear run on the outside on Lady Hollywood, who surged to the front at the eighth pole. Love Reigns altered course again back to the inside and finished full of run to grab the victory.
Love Reigns is an Irish-bred daughter of U S Navy Flag out of the Pivotal mare Humble and Proud. The victory was worth $114,700 and increased Love Reigns’ earnings to $242,065 with a record of 5-3-0-0.
Both Love Reigns and Lady Hollywood were making their 2023 debuts for Ward after closing 2022 by finishing eighth and fifth, respectively, in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G1) here in November.
Love Reigns returned $7.38, $4.26 and $3.48 as the favorite in the field of 11. Lady Hollywood returned $5.14 and $4.04 and finished a half-length in front of My Sweet Affair, who paid $5.82 to show under Irad Ortiz Jr.
It was another 1¼ lengths back to American Apple, who was followed in order by Sassy Nature, Just a Care (IRE), Accomplished Girl, Stone Silent, Camp Akeela, Twirled and Alluring Angel (GB).