09/29/2012 7:22PM

Santa Anita: Love and Pride uncatchable in Zenyatta

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Benoit & Associates
Love and Pride, under Martin Garcia, captures her second straight Grade 1 stakes in the Zenyatta.

ARCADIA, Calif.- Nationwide, Love and Pride is demanding attention in the older female division.

In Saturday’s $250,000 Zenyatta Stakes at Santa Anita, Love and Pride led throughout the race over 1 1/16 miles to win her second consecutive Grade 1. She won her first career Grade 1 race in the Personal Ensign Handicap at Saratoga on Aug. 26.

The two wins make Love and Pride a contender for the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic here on Nov. 2. Her win in the Zenyatta Stakes earned Love and Pride a fees-paid berth to the Ladies’ Classic through the Breeders’ Cup’s Win and You’re In program.

Ridden by Martin Garcia, Love and Pride set a modest pace of 23.98 and48.47 seconds, led by a length on the backstretch and won by 3 1/4 lengths over 7-1 Joyful Victory. Include Me Out closed from seventh to finish third. Amani, the 2-1 favorite, was eighth early in the field of nine and finished fifth.

Love and Pride ($10.20) was expected to set the pace, according to Michael McCarthy, trainer Todd Pletcher’s assistant.

“The track has been a little speed-favoring yesterday and today,” McCarthy said. “Her races have been better when she prompts the race or has been close to it.

“She had enough to get the job done. When she gets a chance to settle into her rhythm, she can run her races.”

Owned by Green Hills Farm, Love and Pride, by A.P. Indy, has won 7 of16 starts and $925,760.

Love and Pride has won four stakes this year, including the Grade 3 Obeah at Delaware Park on June 16.

Jordan More than 1 year ago
This race really exposed what I had thought all year, that the distaff division in Cali is weak. And I live in SoCal. The fact that Love and Pride won the Zenyatta is, by itself, not an indictment of the Cali females given she just beat Royal Delta in the Personal Ensign. For me, more damaging was the fact that Joyful Victory ran 2nd. Love and Pride ran well in the Zenyatta, and should get a Beyer in the 100/101 range. However, others are correct that the level of competition and the pace scenario will be much more challenging for her in the Ladies Classic.
B More than 1 year ago
Coming around nicely, but I doubt she can beat the outstanding bunch of fillies that we have this year in the BC, I still strongly object to this race being renamed the Zenyatta. Lady's Secret was also a great mare and a HOY and deserves more respect than this. There are plenty of races in California with meaningless names (the Vanity, the Santa Margarita, etc.) that they could have renamed instead of insulting one of the great ones.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Didn't they have to rename it because of Oak Tree or something?
Jordan More than 1 year ago
Totally agree, although it seems like Santa Anita went out of its way to offend Oak Tree in the renaming of a number of other stakes as well. But yes, at Santa Anita alone there should be room enough for both Lady's Secret and Zenyatta. Zenyatta and Personal Ensign were the perfect females, but I would argue that neither enjoyed a 16 month span like the one Lady's Secret did between the summer of 85'(her 3 year old year) and the 86' Distaff. 11 grade 1 wins in that span, running all over the country while repeatedly challenging males(and really, really good ones like Precisionist).
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
I agree with you, the officials at Santa Anita could have found or created another very important graded stakes race to name after Zenyatta, so that both champions would be honored as they should. Lady's Secret was a fabulous champion, and her name should not have been taken down off of the race. There's room on the card over the course of a year where both mares could be honored with equally important stakes races. I think Santa Anita management officials were trying to stick it to Oak Tree when they renamed this race, and lost sight of the fact that an insult was issued to Lady's Secret's memory in renaming the race.
Forego137 More than 1 year ago
Martin Garcia did a great job of stealing this race in a paceless field much like the Personal Ensign, she won't have such an easy trip come ladies Classic time and will find the waters much deeper next time.
HandicapperErni More than 1 year ago
Love and Pride ran great. The track has a speed bias so far. If it carries speed, then she'll be dangerous in the Ladies Classic. Joyful Victory ran a nice 2nd. Thought would be 3rd because Include Me Out was coming on late at the end but Rosie Napravnik put in a hustling ride on Joyful Victory to get 2nd. She is getting better with form. I don't think Include Me Out didn't need to be 100% to win today but should've got 2nd though. Still got to be dangerous to look at in Ladies Classic if no speed bias on BC Friday.
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
It is always interesting to read the comments hear "after" reading the article. It is obvious. some here have done just that, and have good good things to add. While others here have convinced themselves that they might get"discovered" as a writer for DRF.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Funny. Who wants to write? I would be sued n fired day one. Rather shovel the stuff literally.
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
If that comment was aimed at me, which I think it was, let me assure you, I'm not trying to get "discovered" as a writer for DRF. Far from it. I went through a writing period in my teens and 20s, won a couple of awards along the way, found a calling in life I liked better, and decided to pursue the career I have now - a career which I happen to love, have a passion for, and which I do very well. I write like I do here all of the time. I even speak like I write. So, your theory about my "ambitions" is incorrect, Jeff.
silver_charm More than 1 year ago
Love & Pride sure looked like a champion today, in every way. And she was able to ration her energy in the middle part of the race which ensured she'd have enough left to respond with determination when asked in the upper stretch. She beat some nice fillies today, and paid a generous 4-1. Good fun!
Mick More than 1 year ago
Nice performance for sure by Love and Pride. Took to the track well, and looked powerful in the lane. Only downside, in my opinion anyway, is she got a very easy lead and left them all behind. That more than likely will not happen in the Distaff.
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
Well said.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this was a step down from the Personal Ensign, Love and Pride was a stand out.
akhiym james More than 1 year ago
I knew this horses was going to win. No speed in the race on a track the favors speed. Easy recipe and she beat some very good horses in Royal Delta and Its Tricky in her last race. She's getting good at the right time and if they let her run along like this in the breeders cup she will be tough to beat again. But she has a slew of top fillies and mares to do it against in Questing and MMA so its gonna be a great ladies classic. Great ride by Martin he does very good with horses on the front end. I wonder if Pletcher will keep him on her
Meydan Rocks More than 1 year ago
We'll see what Questing has to say about LOVE having an easy lead. I daresay Questings cruising speed tops out at a higher plane than LOVE. Ladies BCC is shaping up to be the best race of the two day meet.
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
Love and Pride won a commanding victory in the Zenyatta. She gave a strong, gutty performance, and was given an excellent ride by Martin Garcia. She made swift work of winning this race. She took off and never really looked back. Joyful Victory ran a big race herself, she was in contention the entire way around the track and reached down and outrushed Include Me Out to the wire for the place. Joyful Victory made a very game showing for herself. Love and Pride paid a very nice price to win and the Exacta was a good one as well. Congratulations to all those that had the winner and the exotics, and congratulations to Love and Pride and her connections on a fine win. On to the BC Ladies' Classic which has one more excellent horse who has a fine chance on winning it all.