Lovely Lil, already
a stakes winner against New York-breds, bolstered her résumé on Friday at
Aqueduct Racetrack with in the Grade 2, $150,000 Go for Wand Handicap, a
one-mile race for fillies and mares.
Looking to go one better after finishing second in the Friendly Island
Iroquois for New York-breds on October 22 at Belmont Park,
Lovely Lil showed early speed and raced in tandem with favored All Due Respect
through fractions of 23.04, 45.96, and 1:10.41. Cornelio Velasquez put Lovely
Lil to a drive in upper stretch, and she edged away from All Due Respect to
defeat that rival by 1 ¼ lengths.
Lovely Lil, off as a 15-1 outsider, returned $33.80 for a $2 win wager
and was clocked in 1:36.90.
“My agent told me the filly had a very big chance,” said
Velasquez, who was aboard Lovely Lil for the first time. “Anytime you
ride for Mike Hushion, you have a very big chance. She went to the lead easy.
The other horse [All Due Respect] put on a lot of pressure all the way, but at
the top of the stretch I had a lot of horse left.”
Winning trainer Mike Hushion, who also won yesterday’s Grade 3
Fall Highweight Handicap with Sunrise Smarty, had a similar assessment.
“Tactics-wise, I thought everybody might be looking around to see
what everybody else was doing,” said Hushion, who conditions Lovely Lil
for Barry Schwartz. “I gave Cornelio the option if he wanted to take it.
Even the favorite stayed off her a little bit down the backside and stayed in a
totally different path, so [Lovely Lil] had a chance to relax. The fractions
were very quick, and the final time came up good. She ran the race of her life
Lovely Lil, a 4-year-old daughter of Tiznow, earned her first stakes
victory in August at Saratoga Race Course when she captured the Union Avenue by
1 ¾ lengths and was third in the Grade 2 Gallant Bloom Handicap in September at
Belmont Park. Overall, she is 5-2-1 from 11 career starts with $284,890 in
earnings, including the $90,000 winner’s share of the Go for Wand purse.
C C’s Pal was third, followed home by Katy Now, Risky Rachel,
Persuading, and Spa City Princess. Indian Legend was eased and vanned off.
Arena Elvira was scratched.