ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 20, 2016)–Consistent Paulina’s Love registered her first stakes win in Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 Buena Vista Stakes at Santa Anita as she held off the late charge of Stormy Lucy to prevail by a neck under Gary Stevens while covering a flat mile on turf in 1:36.06.
A comfortable second to longshot Moanin going to the far turn, Paulina’s Love, with Theatre Star to her outside, took command five sixteenths from home and was all-out to hold off the late charge of Stormy Lucy, a Grade I winner.
Trained by Richard Baltas, Paulina’s Love, a Louisiana-bred daughter of Mizzen Mast, was the third choice in a field of 11 older fillies and mares at 7-2 and paid $9.60, $4.80 and $3.80.
“I’ve fallen in love with her,” said Stevens, who is now three for five with “Pauline” in the afternoon. “These (owners) have been so patient with her and have allowed Richard to do what he wants with her. She just keeps developing and getting better and better. She exploded at the eighth pole just like the last time…
“I rode her with a lot of confidence, like she was the favorite. She minds, she lets me do what I want, whatever the pace scenario is. When she’s done, I’d like to take her home and put her in my backyard.”
Owned by KM Racing Enterprise, Inc. and Head of Plains Partners, LLC, Paulina’s Love, who came off a big allowance win over the course on Dec. 30, improved her overall mark to 13-4-3-3. With the winner’s share of $120,000, she increased her earnings to $304,990.
“She’s special at this distance and even better when she gets a little time between races like we did here,” said David Meah, assistant to Baltas, who was at Fairgrounds, in New Orleans on Saturday. “She had a perfect trip. I didn’t expect Flavien (Prat, aboard pacesetting Moanin) to go out like that, but it’s okay. We came home in front and that’s all that matters at the end of the day.”
Ridden by Kent Desormeaux, Stormy Lucy, as is her custom, was far back early and came with a rush late, but just fell short. The second choice at 7-2, she paid $4.60 and $3.20.
“There wasn’t a straw in her path,” said Desormeaux. “She gave me a dream ride. She absolutely flew to the wire. The winner was a nose better today, that’s all. They were too good today.”
Ridden by Alex Solis, Kerri Belle rallied three-wide turning for home and proved third best, finishing 1 ¾ lengths behind Stormy Lucy. Off at 6-1, she paid $5.00 to show.
“I had a perfect trip,” said Solis. “She ran hard, she just didn’t get there.”
Fractions on the race were 22.84, 46.36, 1:10.90 and 1:23.45.
First post time on Sunday at Santa Anita is at 12:30 p.m. Admission gates open at 10:30 a.m.