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2023 Coronation Cup Preview & FREE Picks | Love Reigns Could Win Her 2nd Saratoga Stakes
Love Reigns (Jessica Morgan/Eclipse Sportswire/CSM)

2023 Coronation Cup Preview & FREE Picks | Love Reigns Could Win Her 2nd Saratoga Stakes

Aaron previews the 2023 Coronation Cup Stakes from Saratoga, then gives his top picks & long shots. The Wesley Ward-trained Love Reigns could win her 2nd stakes at the famed upstate New York track after taking the 2022 Bolton Landing Stakes as a 2-year-old, but is there an upset brewing? Tell us YOUR thoughts in the Comments section!

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The press release:

Stonestreet Stables’ dual stakes-winner Love Reigns will seek her second stakes score at Saratoga Race Course in Friday’s $150,000 Coronation Cup, a 5 1/2-furlong Mellon turf sprint for sophomore fillies.

The Coronation Cup is slated as Race 9 on Friday’s 10-race card which also features the $135,000 Wilton in Race 4. First post is 1:10 p.m. Eastern. 

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Trained by Wesley Ward, the U S Navy Flag bay boasts a record of three wins from five starts, including a 2 1/2-length score here last summer in the 5 1/2-furlong Bolton Landing over eventual graded-stakes winner Danse Macabre.

Love Reigns finished off-the-board as the favorite in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint in November at Keeneland to close out her 2-year-old campaign, but returned victorious with a rallying effort in the 5 1/2-furlong Limestone on April 14 at Keeneland with stablemate Lady Hollywood in second.

The $187,123 Goffs Orby Yearling Sale purchase has breezed back six times, including a bullet five-eighths in 1:00.80 on July 4 over the Keeneland dirt.

“She’s doing great. She’s been here at Keeneland and had several works. I’m excited to get her in,” Ward said.

Love Reigns saved ground from eighth position under returning rider Joel Rosario in the Limestone, but was in need of racing room at the top of the lane. A patient Rosario found a path in midstretch and Love Reigns surged between rivals with a sixteenth to run to nail her stablemate in the final jumps.

“She got bottled up and looked like she had nowhere to go – just checking and checking. All of a sudden, she dove down to the inside and off she went,” Ward said of the Limestone effort. “She’s had a good freshening, which is something I always like with sprinters. She shipped in well to Saratoga and has been there a couple of days now to train over the track, so all systems go.”

Rosario retains the mount from post 4.

Joel Politi’s Maryland homebred Bosserati [post 8, Tyler Gaffalione] rides a three-race win streak into her Saratoga debut.

Trained by Brittany Russell, the Holy Boss dark bay has seen her fortunes improve dramatically after being shifted to the turf at eighth asking following a nearly four-month layoff to capture a $25,000 claiming tilt on May 12 at Pimlico Race Course.

Bosserati followed that effort with an open-company allowance win on June 2 at Pimlico over next-out allowance winner Afandi before taking the Stormy Blues in familiar gate-to-wire fashion on June 18 going the Coronation Cup distance over firm Laurel Park turf.

Russell credited Politi with the form reversal that has seen Bosserati, out of the Twirling Candy mare Candy Striper, rise through the ranks to post a career-best 80 Beyer Speed Figure in the Stormy Blues.

“She’s his homebred and he had the mother and this was always his idea when she lost form last year,” noted Russell. “The mother had that sour-out personality so he said, ‘let’s freshen her up and try her on the grass.’ It’s been rewarding for her to be a stakes winner now because of that.”

Bosserati graduated on debut in September traveling a half-mile at Timonium and finished third two starts later in the Maryland Million Lassie in October at Laurel. She tailed off form through her next four starts and was given a break after a sixth-place finish in a $20,000 claiming tilt in January at Laurel.

Russell admitted they were fortunate to retain Bosserati on her return in May.

“Off the shelf we ran her for the tag and we probably picked her head up a bit as well doing that. We honestly risked losing her,” Russell said. “But since we freshened her up, she’s just a happier horse and the grass has helped.”

Bosserati’s main weapon is her wicked early foot that propelled her through splits of 21.55 seconds, 43.76 and 55.33 in the Stormy Blues en route to a half-length score in a final time of 1:01.44 over returning rival My Sweet Affair, who was pinched at the start. She survived claims of foul from both Feargal Lynch, aboard My Sweet Affair, for alleged interference after the break and Angel Cruz, aboard seventh-place Sweet Harmony, for a possible infraction through the turn to secure the win.

“She’s always been quick from the gate,” Russell said. “She broke her maiden at Timonium going four furlongs and that was the reason we ran her over there is because she was always pretty rapid from the gate as a 2-year-old. That’s always been her. She likes to break running and show the way.”

Russell, who captured the 2021 Tale of the Cat with the Kentucky-bred Wondrwherecraigis, said she would love to double up on Spa stakes scores.

“We’ll try and take a big swing with our little Maryland-bred and hope it works out,” Russell said. “To take a Maryland-bred up there and feel like we have a good chance – it’s cool.”

Russell has also entered L Street Lady, last-out winner of the Jersey Girl on June 11 at Belmont Park, for the main-track only.

R.A. Hill Stable and Gatsas Stables’ multiple stakes-placed My Sweet Affair [post 1, Irad Ortiz, Jr.] will look to turn the tables on Bosserati after a troubled trip last out in the Stormy Blues.

Trained by George Weaver, the Twirling Candy bay boasts a record of 4-1-1-1, including a debut maiden win in March sprinting five furlongs over the Gulfstream Park turf and a rallying third-place finish in the Limestone in April at Keeneland.

The $72,000 OBS Spring Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training purchase is out of the Midnight Lute mare Illicit Affair. Her second dam is Hall of Famer Silverbulletday, a five-time Grade 1-winner, who banked more than $3 million.

Rigney Racing’s Anna’s Arabesque [post 3, Florent Geroux] enters from a fourth-out graduation in an off-the-turf sprint on June 29 at Ellis Park for trainer Philip Bauer.

The Munnings bay made her first three starts on turf led by a rallying third-place finish in the 5 1/2-furlong Mamzelle in May at Churchill Downs. She followed with a more prominent effort over the same course and distance in June, but came up a neck short when collared by L J’s Emma.

The $220,000 Keeneland September Yearling Sale purchase is out of the Maclean’s Music mare Classy Music, who is a half-sister to multiple graded-stakes placed Sueno.

Reagan Jack Racing’s Unified Alliance [post 7, Javier Castellano] will make her turf debut following a runner-up effort in the six-furlong Jersey Girl.

The Unified dark bay, who also debuts for trainer Tom Morley, posted a record of 6-2-2-1 for her former conditioner John Servis. She graduated on debut in December at Parx and romped to a frontrunning 10 1/4-length score three starts later sprinting seven furlongs over the same track in April.

Bred in Kentucky by Calvin Crain and Shane Crain, Unified Alliance, out of the Speightstown mare Star Power, was purchased for $60,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale.

Rounding out a talented field are the stakes-placed Wildhawk [post 6, Kendrick Carmouche] for trainer Tom Albertrani; stakes-placed Violet Gibson [post 5, Jose Ortiz] for conditioner Saffie Joseph, Jr.; and the Christophe Clement-trained allowance winner Love Appeals [post 2, Manny Franco].