02/23/2012 3:07PM

Turfway: Lotta Lovin trying two turns in Valdale


Already a two-time stakes winner at Turfway Park this winter, Lotta Lovin will stretch out to two turns when she tries to extend her winning streak Saturday as a solid favorite in the $50,000 Valdale Stakes at the northern Kentucky track.

Owned by New York businessman Buck Butler and part of the local string trained by Mike Maker, Lotta Lovin comes off back-to-back victories in the Gowell and Cincinnati Trophy, both of which were run around one turn. The Valdale is a two-turn mile race over Polytrack.

“Mike has always thought the filly might even do better around two turns,” said Butler. “We had her entered in the Fasig-Tipton sale earlier this month [Feb. 6], but after talking it over, we thought maybe we’d just keep her and test our luck a little further, so we withdrew her from the sale. Hopefully she can keep it going and we can end up a contender in the Ashland or another big race down the road.”

Lotta Lovin rallied to win the Dec. 26 Gowell by a half-length, then blew open the Jan. 21 Cincinnati Trophy by seven lengths. She will be ridden again by Victor Lebron, easily the leading rider at the winter-spring meet. Maker has been the dominant trainer at Turfway this winter despite his best horses being stabled in Florida.

After the favorite, the list of challengers in the Valdale is led by Dream Pegasus, who ships north from Gulfstream Park for trainer Ken McPeek after winning a Churchill Downs main-track allowance in her most recent start. McPeek won the Valdale last year with Harlan’s Ruby.

Other viable contenders include Queen Anna, a five-length allowance winner over the local surface last month, and Sweetnessngoodness, third as one of the favorites in the Cincinnati Trophy.

Rounding out the Valdale field are Allegory, Dixie Jackpot, Make a Toast, Scat Cat Fever, and Venetian Sonata.

This will be the 34th running of the Valdale, which goes as the 10th of 11 Saturday races. First post is 1:10 p.m. Eastern.

◗ Stakes coordinator Tia Murphy is reminding horsemen that nominations close Saturday for the annual Turfway showcase, the $500,000 Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes. The Grade 3 race will be run March 24.


The main local prep for the Vinery Spiral, the $75,000 John Battaglia Memorial, is set for next Saturday, March 3.


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