Love and Pride took control at the start and
never looked back in the $75,000 Affectionately for fillies and mares, running
away to a 7 ½-length victory over Bahia
Beach on Saturday at
Leaving from post position 1, Love and Pride quickly secured the lead in
the opening strides and was taken in hand by jockey Cornelio Velasquez to set
fractions of 24.92, 49.41, and 1:13.54. Bahia Beach
moved up to challenge the leader at the quarter pole, but Love and Pride
rebuffed that bid and extended her advantage in the stretch.
Off as the 4-5 favorite, Love and Pride paid $3.90 and completed 1 1/16
miles in 1:43.90.
“I wasn’t concerned when the other fillies came to her on
the turn,” said Velasquez. “She had run the half in [49.41] so I
still had plenty of horse left when I asked her. She’s a nice
The Affectionately was the second stakes win for Love and Pride, a
Green Hills Farm color-bearer who took the Proud Spell at Saratoga Race Course
in August. Following a fifth in the Grade 2 Cotillion in Parx Racing in
October, she finished third in three consecutive races: the Real Prize
overnight stakes in October at Belmont
Park, the Grade 1 Gazelle
on the Aqueduct main track in November, and the Let Me Linger overnight stakes
on the inner track in December.
“She had run well against Awesome Feather [in the Gazelle]; this
was an easier spot for her,” noted Velasquez.
Katy Now, a speedy stablemate to Love and Pride, was scratched out of
the Affectionately, and Michael McCarthy, assistant to triumphant trainer Todd
Pletcher, said the defection proved beneficial for the winner.
“We had the idea of going to the lead, and obviously with the
scratch of Katy Now she was the controlling speed,” said McCarthy.
“We were able to get away with solid fractions, 49 and change, a big
difference from her previous races. It looks like she could be promising. It
kind of depends on what mood she’s in when she comes over here.
She’s not difficult, but soft fractions make a big difference for
McCarthy said Love and Pride will remain in New York and likely will make her next start
in an inner-track stakes. The next race on the Aqueduct stakes schedule for
fillies and mares is the Grade 2, $200,000 Top Flight Handicap on the March 3
undercard for the Grade 3, $400,000 Gotham.
The Affectionately was worth $45,000 to Love and Pride, a 4-year-old
daughter of A.P. Indy and Ile de France. Her record stands at 4-0-4 from nine
starts with $208,760 in earnings.
Bahama Bound was third, followed home by Indian Burn, and Orbiston