Love Reigns Returns to Saratoga in $150K Galway

August 9, 2023

Love Reigns kicks off 2023 with a surging score in the Limestone April 14 at Keeneland (Keeneland Photo)

By Mary Eddy – NYRA Press Office

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y.— Stonestreet Stables’ dual stakes-winner Love Reigns looks to return from a four-month layoff in style in Saturday’s $150,000 Galway, a 5 1/2-furlong Mellon turf sprint for sophomore fillies, at Saratoga Race Course.

The Galway, carded as Race 7, is one of three stakes slated for Saturday’s 11-race card, which is highlighted by the Grade 1, $500,000 Fourstardave Handicap [a “Win and You’re In” qualifier for the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Mile] in Race 9 and the Grade 2, $200,000 Herb Moelis Memorial Saratoga Special in Race 8. First post is 1:10 p.m. Eastern.

Trained by Wesley Ward, Love Reigns was last seen scoring a determined half-length triumph in the Limestone sprinting the Galway distance on April 14 over firm Keeneland turf. The daughter of U S Navy Flag showed new dimensions in rallying from six lengths off the pace and steadied behind a wall of foes in the stretch before angling in and finding a seam to surge to a half-length triumph with Joel Rosario in the irons for the first time. The effort garnered a career-best 91 Beyer Speed Figure.

“She’s training well,” said Ward. “She works every week no worries just cruising right around there. She’s fit and ready to go. When we put Rosario on, that’s the guy we go to to kind of get them back there a little bit and come with a run. We’ll let them ‘speedies’ go and then we’ll come with a run.”

Love Reigns burst onto the scene with an eye-catching 9 3/4-length triumph on debut last April at Keeneland. She followed with a trip to Royal Ascot in the Group 2 Queen Mary last June where she briefly held the lead in the final quarter-mile before being headed one furlong from home and settling for fourth. The bay filly’s lone Saratoga outing came with a strong victory in last year’s Bolton Landing with a pace-pressing trip ahead of an uncharacteristic eighth in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint in November at Keeneland.

Rosario retains the mount from post 8.

Beauty of the Sea ups her win streak to three in the Blue Sparkler July 15 at Monmouth Park (Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO)

Ironhorse Racing Stable’s Beauty of the Sea [post 2, Edgard Zayas] streaks in off three victories for conditioner Joe Orseno. The daughter of Bucchero was a last-out winner of the 5 1/2-furlong Blue Sparkler on July 15 when stalking and pouncing in deep stretch to land a head score over returning rivals My Sweet Affair and Love Appeals in a final time of 1:02.68.

“She handled the turf great at Monmouth,” said Orseno. “Those horses she beat shipped down to us, but we’re going up to them now. This is a logical next step to see if she can progress a bit more.”

Beauty of the Sea kicked off her streak with a third-out graduation in maiden optional claiming company in May at Gulfstream Park. She followed with smart first-level optional claiming coup over the Gulfstream synthetic on June 3 when racing in between foes before finding a seam late and powering home a two-length winner.

“We always knew she had talent, but she got sick as a 2-year-old after her first race and we just let her forget about it and turned her out,” said Orseno. “She came back in great shape, so we’re pretty happy. When you see the filly, it’s a surprise, because she’s tiny and she’s all heart. She runs with determination.”

R.A. Hill Stable and Gatsas Stables’ My Sweet Affair will attempt to turn the tables on Beauty of the Sea and notch her first stakes win in her fifth attempt for conditioner George Weaver. The Twirling Candy dark bay was a hard-fought second in the Blue Sparkler after rallying up the rail from off the pace under Eric Cancel.

The $72,000 OBS Spring Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training purchase has made 4-of-5 lifetime outings in stakes events, including additional placings when third in the Limestone one length behind Love Reigns, and second in the Stormy Blues on June 18 at Laurel Park. Her lone victory came on debut with a tidy 2 1/2-length score in March at Gulfstream under Irad Ortiz, Jr.

Ortiz, Jr. returns to the irons from post 10.

Rigney Racing’s dual stakes-placed Anna’s Arabesque [post 5, Dylan Davis] returns to turf after making her last two starts in off-the-turf sprints for conditioner Phil Bauer, including a runner-up effort to Unified Alliance in the Spa’s Coronation Cup on July 14, which was contested over a fast main track. There, she dueled for the early lead under regular pilot Florent Geroux before losing a touch of ground, but battled back gamely for place honors.

“I was pleased with her effort and for her to punch home and chase – she ran her race and we were proud of her,” Bauer said. “It’s never bad to place in a stake at Saratoga. She’s a nice little filly and we’re going to have to run our best to get the win, but we certainly hope we’re prepared to do it.”

The Coronation Cup was the second stakes placing for the daughter of Munnings, who finished a closing third in the Mamzelle on May 3 at Churchill Downs 2 1/2 lengths by the victorious Danse Macabre. She has breezed back twice at Saratoga since the Coronation Cup, posting a half-mile in 48 seconds flat over the training turf on July 28, and an additional half-mile in 49.75 over the Oklahoma dirt training track on Saturday.

“She had a good turf breeze a couple back and last week was just a maintenance deal,” said Bauer. “Dylan Davis was able to sit on her for the last breeze and got to know her a bit, so we’ll see if we can catch some luck with him.”

Completing the field are Dream Concert [post 1, Junior Alvarado], who adds blinkers, Isabel Alexandra [post 3, Reylu Gutierrez], Love Appeals [post 4, Manny Franco], Redifined [post 6, Jose Ortiz], L J’s Emma [post 7, Luis Saez] and Stone Silent [post 9, Ricardo Santana, Jr.]. Weekend Rags and Reflexivity are listed as also-eligible, while Unified Alliance, Obrigada and Cuz Ur Pretty are entered for the main-track only.

@jonathanstettin #2 Ettalusive ran big to finish 2nd in Gulf Stream 3rd 16-1

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