OZONE PARK, NY – Godolphin homebred Lovestruck doubled down on her promising debut victory with another strong effort in Sunday’s $100,000 Tepin Stakes at Aqueduct.
Breaking from post 2 under Junior Alvarado as the even-money favorite, Lovestruck settled into a close stalking trip behind Big Time Lady through opening fractions of :24.05 and :50.50.
Desperate for running room as she exited the far turn, Lovestruck found space between the leader and Lexinator at the top of the stretch but had to soon angle out into Lexinator as Big Time Lady veered slightly.
Recovering from the contact, Lovestruck re-rallied and put her nose in front at the 1/16 pole, then held off Invincible Gal‘s late rail push to win by a length.
The Bill Mott trainee completed the 1 1/16-mile good outer turf route in 1:47.14.
“She’s been ready for quite a while,” Alvarado said. “We were expecting the kind of run from her that we saw today. There’s still room for her to improve. She’s still a little bit green, and when she got to the lead, she was wandering around the track, which is fine. When she puts it all together, we’ll get a little more from her.”
Invincible Gal rallied from last to take second by 1 1/2 lengths ahead of Big Time Lady, who held third by 3/4 of a length over Island Treasure. Bravo Regina and Lexinator completed the order of finish.
Thursday took a bad step on the backstretch and was pulled up before being vanned off.
Frost Me scratched, as did Main Track Only entries Dollar Mountain, Malibu Curl, and Hit the Woah.
Lovestruck’s win followed a debut maiden-breaking score over the Saratoga inner turf on September 7, where she overcame a rough trip under Alvarado. The Tapit filly has now earned $94,600.
“I knew she was going to be sharp, but I like to teach them to relax behind horses and have a nice finish,” Alvarado said. “I didn’t want to just let her go. Even though it was a slow pace, I knew I was close enough that she wouldn’t have too much to do at the end.”
Lovestruck returned $4.20 to win, $2.60 to place, and $2.40 to show. Invincible Gal brought back $3.10 to place and $2.40 to show, while Big Time Lady paid $5.20 to show.