A concerted effort to save as much ground as possible by both the
trainer and the jockey of Mystic Love
resulted in victory in the
$100,000 Dania Beach Stakes at Gulfstream Park Saturday.
The 2-year-old Maryland-bred filly proved superior to the boys in
the one-mile turf stakes because trainer Jessica Campitelli didn’t want
to stretch her out as far as 1 1/16 miles in an upcoming filly stakes
and because jockey Elvis Trujillo never left the rail during a
“We believed in her. It was more that we really didn’t want to go a
mile and a sixteenth for her first time going two turns,” said
Campitelli, who had the option to wait until Jan. 1 to run Mystic Love
against fillies in the $100,000 Ginger Brew at 1 1/16 miles. “So we
chose to run against the boys.”
And, boy, did she run.
Mystic Love, sent to post at 16-1, broke alertly from her inside
post position to settle in third along the inside as Tate’s Landing,
stalked by Reporting Star, set the pace around the first turn and along
the backstretch. When an opening appeared inside a tiring Tate’s
Landing on the turn into the homestretch, Trujillo alertly sent his
filly through the hole to take the lead at the top of the stretch. The
daughter of Not for Love opened up a two-length lead in mid-stretch and
had enough in reserve from her ground-saving trip to hold off a Charming
Kitten, the fast-closing even-money favorite, by a half-length.
“It was a perfect trip. I saw in the program there was one horse
with speed, so I sat behind,” Trujillo said. “At the three-eighths pole
we had a little room and it was time for us to go. This is a very nice
Charming Kitten, ridden by John Velazquez, finished a length in
front of third-place finishers Newfound Zapper and Joel Rosario.
“It was a perfect trip until I got to the quarter pole, when two horses
bolted in front of me,” Velazquez said. “Mystic Love got through and
the race was over."
Mystic Love, who ran the mile on a good turf course in 1:38.81, had
been victorious in her two prior turf starts, both at 5 1/2 furlongs, at
Laurel, where she was trained by Campitelli’s husband, Francis
“She’s always trained like: the longer the better, really,” said
Francis Campitelli, who joined his wife in the winner’s circle. “Her
getting the distance wasn’t a great surprise. I was more surprised she
was able to win at 5 ½.”
Mystic Love, who finished fifth in a Maryland-bred stakes on the
Laurel main track in her only other start, will likely return to action
in the $100,000 Sweetest Chant, a mile turf stakes for fillies, on Jan.
“We’ll go in the next filly race, because that’s also a mile, so it’ll work out good,” Francis Campitelli said.