$1.05 million filly Spice is Nice reaches early high for the Lows

January 13, 2020 10:40am
$1.05 million filly Spice is Nice reaches early high for the Lows
Photo: Courtesy of Gulfstream Park

Jacob West, bloodstock agent and racing manager for owners Robert and Lawana Low, laughed at the notion he’d have something to do with spotting debut-winning filly Spice is Nice for her encore race.

“You stay out of that man’s way,” he said of trainer Todd Pletcher, “and you just let him tell us where we’re going.”

It promises to be an exciting ride after the $1.05 million daughter of Curlin won her Sunday unveiling at Gulfstream Park by 12 widening lengths. From here, a run down the Kentucky Oaks trail seems inevitable for the chestnut filly out of Grade 1 winner Dame Dorothy, herself a former Pletcher trainee.

Spice is Nice sat just off a group of four rivals vying to set the pace early, then moved up along the inside going a one-turn mile. Once engaged by jockey John Velazquez, she angled toward the rail, diving inside to take the lead. The chart reads: “took over (in turn), impressive.”

Under a hand ride, Spice is Nice finished up in 1:36.06.

“It’s always tough to win down there,” West said of Gulfstream Park, “but we were confident going in there that she would run well — not that she would win by 12 lengths. We weren’t expecting that.

“We did think that she was a nice filly. She’s always shown us she’s had talent and ability.”



The Lows purchased Spice is Nice, who was bred by celebrity chef Bobby Flay, as a Keeneland yearling in 2018. West remembers being “smitten by her.” It helped that Pletcher “hyped me up even more.”

This is Dame Dorothy’s first foal, and during her own racing days the daughter of Bernardini campaigned by Flay won multiple graded stakes, including Churchill Downs’ 2015 Humana Distaff (G1). While Dame Dorothy got started at the races in November of her 2-year-old season, Pletcher told West that had she not suffered a setback, he would have expected her to win first out that summer at Saratoga.

“When I went back to the Lows and told them how much I liked her physically, they looked at the pedigree and had the added bonus of telling them what Todd Pletcher told me,” West said. “That just gives you all the more reason to go in there and bid with confidence.”

Then known as Hip 814, Spice is Nice climbed into seven figures in the Keeneland sales ring. When it came time to name her, the Lows made it an ode to Flay.

“They took a play on words there with Bobby’s culinary expertise,” West said. “They do that all the time — try to use a different angle. They don’t just look at the sire and the dam and name them after something.”

Spice is Nice had worked dating back to August and could have debuted going six or seven furlongs in December. Connections feared that may match her up against a sprinter, so the decision came to wait for a longer spot.

With that in mind, it seems unlikely Spice is Nice both wheels back and shortens up for Gulfstream’s Feb. 1 Forward Gal (G3) going seven furlongs. The Feb. 29 Davona Dale (G2) runs at the same mile trip as Sunday's race, while the March 28 Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) measures 1 1/16 miles.

West and the Lows hope to have more to look forward to this spring thanks to newly turned 3-year-old turf filly Sweet Melania, winner of Keeneland’s Jessamine Stakes (G2) last fall. Intrepid Heart, a graded-placed 4-year-old colt, is also returning this season.

“We’re just giving her some time off to freshen her up,” West said of Sweet Melania, “and then she’ll come back for a spring campaign back up in New York more than likely. Intrepid Heart, he’s breezing away at Palm Beach Downs right now with Todd and his crew. We’re hoping a big winter in Florida will propel us into some good summer stakes.”

The Lows, who campaigned Arkansas Derby (G1) winner Magnum Moon in 2018, also have a pair of 3-year-old colts for your virtual stable. West said their homebred Moonlander is “a couple weeks away” from debuting, while Colonel Liam, a $1.2 million purchase, is also with Pletcher in Florida, and "we're keeping our fingers crossed for him."

 

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