Lovelytobehold Wins Delvin Miller
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) _ Lovelytobehold came charging down the stretch Friday to win the $400,000 Delvin Miller Memorial for 3-year-old fillies by a head over Dream Valley OM.
The lightly raced Lovelytobehold, driven by Jim Doherty, trotted the mile in a career-best 1:54 3-5.
Doherty kept his filly near the lead through the first half-mile, then challenged Oolong on the far turn. Oolong held onto the lead until the top of the stretch, when Lovelytobehold took command and held off a late challenge from Dream Valley OM.
``She’s a little green so I had to be careful with her leaving,″ Doherty said. ``Once I hit the top of the stretch I thought I had a pretty good chance.″
The victory was the second in six career starts for Lovelytobehold, who raced only once as a 2-year-old. This year she has run five times, finishing first twice and second twice.
``She’s a late comer,″ trainer-owner Tom Gonsalves said. ``She raced only once last year. I saved her for her 3-year-old season.
``I know now she can go with the best,″ said Gonsalves, who plans to enter Lovelytobehold in the Hambletonian Oaks. ``She can make anyone look good, even me.″
The $200,000 winner’s purse is the first big payoff for Gonsalves and was 10 times more than Lovelytobehold had won in her previous five starts.
Rum Boogie, who was sent off as the 4-5 favorite, finished fourth and was never a factor.
``She wasn’t right. She wasn’t herself tonight,″ driver Mike Lachance said. ``I got pushed out a little at the top of the stretch, but that’s racing. She was making noises during the race and was breathing very heavy after the wire so I knew she wasn’t right.″
Lovelytobehold paid $13.40, $6.20 and $4.60. Dream Valley OM was worth paid $9.20 and $5.60 and Poster Princess returned $8.
In other races, CR Renegade and Self Possessed won their respective Beacon Course eliminations. CR Renegade came roaring down the stretch to nip Starchip Enterprise by a head in 1:54 in the first elimination while Self Possessed pulled away for a 13 1/4-length victory while equaling his track-record 1:52 2-5.
Also qualifying for next Friday’s $430,000 Beacon Course final which will match many of the best horses for this year’s edition of the Hambletonian were Angus Hall, Enjoy Lavec, Fortuna Winner, Davanti, Supershade, CR Commando and Cherry Hills.