12/11/2010 5:52PM

Addition of blinkers helps Love's Reason take Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship

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Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Love's Reason, under Travis Dunkelberger, captures the Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship.

Love’s Reason responded to the addition of blinkers by coming from off the pace to capture the $50,000 Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship at Laurel Park.

Sent off as the 3-2 favorite in a field of five 2-year-old Maryland-bred fillies, Love’s Reason ($5), ridden by Travis Dunkelberger for trainer Rodney Jenkins, sat about five lengths off a contested pace set by Oriental Cruise and Malibu Beach Bunny through a half-mile in 47.69 seconds. Love’s Reason made a three-wide move coming around the turn to challenge for the lead, took command in midstretch, and drew clear in deep stretch to prevail by 2 1/4 lengths. She ran the 7 1/2 furlongs in 1:33.88.

“She put it all together today,” said Dunkelberger, who has been aboard for all but one of her five career starts.

Oriental Cruise finished second, a half-length in front of Side by Side, the previously unbeaten second choice at 8-5.

Love’s Reason, a daughter of Not for Love owned by Hillwood Stable, had been off since finishing last of five as the 7-5 favorite in a first-level optional claimer at Delaware Park in late October. She did not run her usual race that day after acting up in the paddock.

“She’s got all the ability in the world,” said Jenkins. “I love her but she is definitely a challenge. She got a little flighty at Delaware so we had to regroup. We put blinkers on her and it really seemed to help.”

Previously, Love’s Reason had finished third in the six-furlong Maryland Million Lassie. She is now 2 for 5 lifetime.