04/16/2016 3:29PM

Lovable Lyss finishes fast in Austintown Filly Sprint

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Lovable Lyss, with Jose Valdivia Jr. aboard for the first time, scores by 1 3/4 lengths in the Austintown Filly Sprint.

Lovable Lyss, cutting back to six furlongs after three consecutive route races during the winter at Fair Grounds, had the best closing kick in Saturday’s $75,000 Austintown Filly Sprint for 3-year-old fillies at Mahoning Valley Race Course.

Ridden for the first time by Jose Valdivia Jr., Lovable Lyss ($10) came from fourth in the stretch to blow past New York shipper Absatootly and 43-1 outsider Tia Flor to win for the third time in six lifetime starts for owner-trainer Hugh Robertson. She completed the distance in 1:12.29 and finished 1 3/4 lengths in front.

Tia Flor, returning to dirt for the first time since November following five straight races on Turfway Park’s Polytrack, outfought Absatootlyby a neck for second. Previously unbeaten Tiffany Case checked in fourth as the 2-1 favorite.

Lovable Lyss, a daughter of Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown, was getting class relief after finishing sixth in the Grade 2 Rachel Alexandra and a distant fourth in the $150,000 Silverbulletday. Prior to that, she had won a six-furlong maiden race and a first-level optional $50,000 claimer going a mile and 70 yards.

“We were fortunate to work out a perfect tracking position behind a pretty solid pace battle,” Valdivia said. “When I asked her to go after the leaders at the top of the stretch she kicked in and after catching them was pulling away pretty easily at the end. She is a nice little filly.”

Riding in the Wind takes Howard Noonan Stakes

Riding in the Wind remained undefeated in four starts against Ohio-breds with a late rally to win the $75,000 Howard Noonan Stakes for 3-year-old statebreds.

Based in Kentucky with trainer Jose Lopez, Riding in the Wind ($7.40) rallied from third inside the sixteenth pole to overtake dueling leaders Buckeye Bullet and Intacto to win the six-furlong race by three-quarters of a length. Ridden by Marco Ccamaque for owner-breeder Bobby Rankin, Riding in the Wind covered the distance in 1:13.09.

A son of Tiz Wonderful, Riding in the Wind is 4 for 4 in restricted company at Mahoning Valley and 0 for 5 facing open company, including a third in the Space City Stakes at Sam Houston and an 11th-place finish in the John Battaglia Memorial at Turfway Park.

Buckeye Bullet, making his first start since dominating maidens in December, finished second, 1 3/4 lengths ahead of Intacto, the 5-2 second choice.

My Pardner Cal, the 2015 Ohio-bred 2-year-old champion, disappointed his backers who made him the 2-1 favorite. He raced second for the first quarter-mile before dropping back and finishing last of nine.

Ohio-bred 2-year-old filly champion School Board Prez was an early scratch.