11/25/2011 6:08PM

Hollywood Park: More Than Love wins Miesque by a nose

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Benoit & Associates
Jockey Ramon Dominguez guides More Than Love to a neck victory in the Grade 3 Miesque Stakes.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – A good week for Ramon Dominguez keeps getting better.

One day after riding five winners at Aqueduct, the East Coast-based jockey won the first stakes of the 2011 Turf Festival at Hollywood Park, guiding even-money favorite More Than Love ($4) to a nose victory over stubborn pacesetter Starship Flare in the Grade 3 Miesque Stakes.

Dominguez, the nation’s leading jockey with 2011 purse earnings of more than $19 million, was winning his fifth Turf Festival race from 10 mounts.

More Than Love, trained by John Terranova, raced in second position while 29-1 longshot Starship Flare set comfortable fractions over the firm course. The pacesetter went the opening half-mile in 48.70 seconds and six furlongs in 1:12.55. At the quarter pole, Dominguez turned More Than Love loose, and it appeared she would blow past the leader.

However, Starship Flare and jockey Victor Espinoza had something left, dug in through the lane, and only got worn down at the wire. The final time was 1:36.32.

More Than Love, now 2 for 3, was making her first start since a maiden win at Belmont on Oct 9. She was the sixth shipper to win the Miesque in the last seven years.

The order was completed by Island Paradise, the 5-2 second favorite who finished 3 1/2 lengths back in third, Your Special Day, Regal Betty, Katie’s Ten, and Raesunbridledfaith.

Assateague, the Michael Matz-trained shipper from Keeneland and the original 2-1 favorite, was scratched from the Miesque early Friday. She was reported “unsound.”