SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Owner/trainer Reid Nagle’s Lover’s Key continued her recent run of success against her fellow state-bred company, wiring Thursday’s $100,000 New York Stallion Series at Saratoga Race Course.
Jockey Junior Alvarado put Lover’s Key through fractions of :24.31, :48.52, and 1:12.46 before completing the turf mile event in 1:34.97.
“I thought she was very impressive,” Alvarado said. “She broke out of there very good, and coming to the first turn, I just had to get her to relax, and she relaxed very well. I knew turning for home I was going to have plenty of horse left. When I ask her, she gives me a nice run, and she finished full of run by the end.”
Lady Joan tracked in second throughout but was never able to pose a serious threat and finished 3/4 of a length behind. Hollywood Cat and Paz the Bourbon traded back and forth between third and fourth before finishing in that order. She’s Dreamin, Silly Numbers, Carry Your Heels, and Emiliana’s Hope completed the order of finish.
Nagle claimed the 3-year-old daughter of Frost Giant for $50,000 on January 4, but it wasn’t until the seventh race of her career (her second with Nagle) on April 1 when she broke through for her maiden win.
Nobody could have predicted that her maiden victory was the beginning of a hot streak, but she has since won four of her last five starts, with her only non-win a close second behind Lady Joan at Belmont on June 25.
“I liked her breeding,” Nagle said when asked why he claimed her. “She had a layoff, and it looked like she was figuring out what was going on.”
Wearing an extended cup blinker over her right eye for the first time (which obstructs all vision to her right side), Nagle was quite proud of Lover’s Key’s performance.
“They’ve turned her entirely around,” Nagle said. “She’s very focused now. She knows what her job is and she knows where the finish line is. It’s a full cup on the (left) side and an extended cup on the right side. In two of her races, she went to the lead and ultimately won, but at Gulfstream, she went tightly on the first turn, and on the second turn, she ran to the outside rail. Those (races) were with full-cup blinkers, so we put extended cup blinkers on the right-hand side, and that eliminated that issue entirely.”
Nagle’s filly took home $60,000 for finishing first, increasing her career earnings to $186,162 and improved her record in the past six races to 5-1-0.
Lover’s Key returned $10 to win, $5.20 to place, and $3.90 to show. Lady Joan brought back $4.40 to place and $3.40 to show, while Hollywood Cat paid $6.10 to show.