TORONTO, Ont. – Loyalty took the $125,000 Duchess, for 3-year-old fillies, besting four rivals over 7 furlongs on the main track, Saturday at Woodbine.
Breaking from the inside post, Loyalty, fresh off a stakes score in Pennsylvania, got away well and sat just off the dueling duo of Hollywood Walk and Join the Dance, who took the field through an opening quarter timed in :23.11.
Luis Contreras, aboard Loyalty, then guided the daughter of Hard Spun-Slew’s Quality to the lead, holding a head advantage over Hollywood Walk after a half reached in :45.63.
Just off the turn for home, Contreras looked under his arm to see if any of her rivals, including multiple graded stakes winner Souper Hoity Toity, were coming with a run.
Loyalty, trained by Canadian Hall of Fame inductee Josie Carroll, started to dash away from her pursuers, while Souper Hoity Toity, checked at the quarter pole, had to alter course to the outside, putting her behind the eight-ball in the chase to track down the leader.
On top by three at the stretch call, Loyalty, owned by Gainesway Stable and LNJ Foxwoods, crossed the wire a 1 ½-length winner in a time of 1:22.90 on the Tapeta. Souper Hoity Toity finished second, with Join the Dance third, and Pharoah’s Song fourth. Pioneer’s Edge, also a Carroll trainee, was a late stewards scratch after breaking through the gate. Empress Tigress, Curlin Candy, and Tasweya were also scratched.
“There is some speed in the race, so breaking from the one-hole, it was get a nice, clean break, and see how the speed goes,” said Contreras. “From the beginning, she was running so nice and comfortable, so I just let her be and had a beautiful trip. She was pretty relaxed. The fractions were a little bit fast, but she was so nice and relaxed, and enjoying the trip around.”
Carroll was concerned about the inside draw but felt Loyalty could handle the challenge.
“She’s just incredibly honest. You just lead her over and she just seems to show up. I don’t think you ever like to draw the one-hole. I particularly didn’t like it when I saw that the two horse [Empress Tigress] was going to be the speed horse, but when she scratched, I felt a lot better about it.”
With the Duchess win, Loyalty, who took the Lady Erie Stakes on August 8 at Presque Isle, is now a four-time winner from five starts. The lone blemish was a sixth in the turf Alywow Stakes on July 9.
“I think you draw a line through it,” said Carroll, of the Alywow. “Her pedigree said she should love the grass. We put her on the grass, she ran a bad race that day and it wasn’t the grass. I don’t know whether at some date we might try her again or keep her on this surface. I guess time will tell.”
A $270,000 Keeneland September yearling, Loyalty won her first two starts, both 6-furlong sprints on the Woodbine Tapeta. Bred in Florida by Best A Luck Farm LLC & Godolphin LLC, she is a half to champion sprinter and Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint winner Shamrock Rose.
Loyalty paid $3.80, $2.20 and $2.10, combining with Souper Hoity Toity ($2.50, $2.10) for a $5.80 exactor. The triactor with Join the Dance ($2.30) returned $12.80. A $1 superfecta with Pharoah’s Song came back $8.95.
Chris Lomon/Woodbine Communications
Photo: Loyalty and jockey Luis Contreras winning the Duchess Stakes on Saturday at Woodbine. (Michael Burns Photo)