Jennifer Hoyt, Oaklawn Racing
HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Lovely Ride, coming off a win in the Dec. 10 Mistletoe Stakes, won her second straight stakes in Saturday’s $150,000 Pippin Stakes and provided trainer Robertino Diodoro with his 3,001st career victory. Earlier in the day, he won the second race with Arthurian to become only the 37th trainer in North America to win 3,000 races.
Breaking from post position three under current leading rider Cristian Torres, Lovely Ride went right for the lead and proceed to set early fractions of :23 1/5 and :47 2/5 for the first half mile. Ice Orchid, who had tracked from second throughout the race, could not get to the winner and finished three-quarters of a length behind in the place spot. The 5-2 favorite La Da Vida (CHI) finished third after closing from sixth. The winning time was 1:44 for 1 1 1/16 miles over a fast track.
“There was a lot of speed, but the filly’s been training beautifully. The way the track has been playing today, we had to (break) and go. She proved she can go any distance. She was beautiful. Today she proved she can run anywhere,” said Torres.
Lovely Ride, a Candy Ride (ARG) filly, improved her record to 7-3-1 in 15 career starts and has now earned $508,573 for owners John Holleman, Flying P Stable and Jerry Nafe. She returned $8.60, $4.20 and $3.20 at odds of 3-1.
“I kept saying she had to step it up a length or two to beat this field today. I thought it was a little tougher field. Said before she was going into the first race (Mistletoe) great and came out of the race better than we thought and was going into this race better than the first one,” Diodoro said.
“When things all work out like that, then the horses actually kind of make you look smart. It feels good. Like I said, she did step it up today.”