Beautiful Lover Making Final Start in $150,000 Orchid (G3)
Among 10 Stakes, Six Graded, Worth $2.2M on Florida Derby Card
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Moyglare Stud Farm, Ltd.’s multiple stakes-winning mare Beautiful Lover, who earned graded status in the La Prevoyante (G3) to kick off her 6-year-old season, will head to the breeding shed after making her final start in Saturday’s $150,000 Orchid (G3) at Gulfstream Park.
The 58th running of the 1 3/8-mile Orchid for fillies and mares 4 and up on turf is part of a blockbuster program that includes 10 stakes, six graded, worth $2.2 million anchored by the $1 million Curlin Florida Derby (G1) presented by Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms at Xalapa, one of the country’s premier Triple Crown preps.
Post time for the first of 14 races is 11:30 a.m.
Unraced at 2, Beautiful Lover won the 2019 Boiling Springs as a 3-year-old in her stakes debut and went on to place in six other stakes including the 2020 Matchmaker (G2) before becoming a graded winner in the 1 ½-mile La Prevoyante Jan. 29 at Gulfstream. Most recently, she ran fourth after setting the pace in the 1 3/8-mile The Very One (G3) last out.
“She won a Grade 3 and came back a bit below form last time out. I still think she’s training well,” trainer Christophe Clement said. “It will be her last race before she’s being retired. The idea is to run her there and then become a broodmare.”
Beautiful Lover was uncharacteristically on the lead in her most recent start, one where the half-mile went in 50.86 seconds. It was not unlike the La Prevoyante, which had a 50.50 half and the Arch mare was able to rally from her stalking trip to edge stablemate Sorrel by a neck.
“It was a touch of a paceless trip last time,” Clement’s son and assistant, Miguel, said. “She found herself in the front, which may not have been where she wanted to be that day. Her start two back was very impressive, and I think she’s going to run that sort of race again because she’s going into this race quite well.”
Beautiful Lover has had a pair of five-furlong works, each in 1:02, following her latest start, and will have newly minted Eclipse Award winner Joel Rosario back aboard for the third straight race as starting topweight of 123 pounds.
“She showed a good turn of foot [in the La Prevoyante],” Miguel Clement said. “She’s training very well at the moment. She’s eating great and training great, and I’m actually very excited to see her run. I would be very disappointed if she doesn’t provide a good account of herself.”
Trainer Graham Motion entered the pair of Harajuku and Sister Otoole in the Orchid. Flaxman Holdings, Ltd.’s Harajuku was third, beaten 1 ½ lengths, in the March 5 The Very One. In her prior effort, the 4-year-old Irish-bred filly was second by a nose to Always Shopping in the 1 3/8-mile Via Borghese Dec. 31 at Gulfstream.
“I thought she ran very well last time. I thought the form kind of held up from her previous start,” Motion said. “She was only beaten a length and a half and I thought it was a good effort. She beat the fillies that she beat in the Via Borghese and then some of those fillies came back and ran well in the race on Pegasus Day.
“She wasn’t beaten by much and she’s done really well since. I do question how far she really wants to go,” he added. “I kind of skipped the race on Pegasus Day because I’m not convinced she wants to go a mile and a half, but she obviously likes Gulfstream so I think it makes sense to give her a shot in here.”
Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners’ Sister Otoole ran fifth in back-to-back starts just seven days apart, the Sunshine Filly & Mare Turf, contested at a mile and 70 yards on Gulfstream’s Tapeta course, and the La Prevoyante. Motion has given her plenty of time since.
“I ran her back very quickly the last time,” Motion said. “I kind of really backed off her after that to give her a little bit of an easy time. This wasn’t necessarily on our agenda, but it figured to be a shorter field so why not take a shot.”
Peachtree Stable’s Champagne Ivy is set to make her graded debut out of a front-running 2 ¼-length optional claiming allowance going 1 ½ miles Feb. 10 at Gulfstream. Each of her last three races have come on Gulfstream’s all-weather surface, but she has finished worse than third only once in eight career tries on turf with a win in a conditioned 1 1/16-mile allowance last June at Belmont Park.
“We think she’s gotten better with distance. Now we’re going to try her on the turf,” Championship Meet-leading trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. said. “We think she’s better on the turf, but obviously the class check is going to be the big question mark, if she can run with these kind of horses. But she’ll definitely like the mile and a half, and we’ll give her a chance.”
Hunter Valley Farm, Debra O’Connor and Marc Detampel’s Family Way, second in the The Very One; Calumet Farm homebred Scarabea, fourth by a half-length in the La Prevoyante last out; and Augustin Stable homebred Song of Innocence, runner-up in a Feb. 10 optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream, round out the field.