Hillwood Stable LLC's Love's Reason lived up to her billing as the 3-2 favorite when she outstepped four rivals in the $50,000 Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship at Laurel Park on Saturday.
The chestnut completed the 7-1/2 furlong distance in 1:33.88 and carried Travis Dunkelberger to a 2 1/4 -length victory. Oriental Cruise, who battled for the lead into the stretch, held off late closing Side by Side to finish second.
"She put it all together today," Dunkelberger said.
The daughter of Not For Love improved her record to two wins and four in the money finishes in five career starts. Her only off the board finish was in her previous start at Delaware Park on Oct. 25 when she "flipped out" in the paddock prior to a next-to-last place performance.
"She's got all the ability in the world," said trainer Rodney Jenkins. "I love her but she is definitely a challenge. She got a little flighty at Delaware so we had to regroup. We put blinkers on her and it really seemed to help."
Love's Reason paid $5 to win. Morning-line favorite Indian Tale was scratched.
Lake one win shy of 5,000
Scott Lake is now just one win shy of becoming the sixth trainer in history to win 5,000 career races when Nervous Marvin ($4.20) won Saturday's seventh race at Laurel Park. One race earlier, Good General finished third as a 4-5 favorite.
The 45-year-old has six scheduled runners at Philadelphia Park today and Monday before Laurel's next live racing day. Lake has a pair of runners in both the first and second races here Wednesday.
Down the stretch they come
With only four days remaining in the 2010 Maryland racing season, the battle for top trainer for both the fall meet and entire year still hangs in the balance. John Rigattieri (18 wins) is two ahead of Dickie Small, Ferris Allen and Hamilton Smith for the meet title, while Chris Grove has a four-win lead (55-51) over Scott Lake for the year-round championship.
Forest Boyce has wrapped up the riding title for the stand with 64 victories, 34 more than Julian Pimentel. She finished her first week as a journeyman rider with three wins from 23 mounts. Boyce and Erick Rodriguez are tied for the overall top spot. Each has 97 trips to the winner's circle at Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course this year.
All-time North American wins list
Dale Baird9,445Jack Van Berg6,405King Leatherbury6,313Jerry Hollendorfer5,827Steve Asmussen5,680Scott Lake4,999