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Lovesick Ready to Move Forward in Saturday’s Azalea Stakes

Jun 26, 2019
Fawkes Trainee Tops Summit of Speed Stakes for 3-Year-Old Fillies

– e Five Racing Thoroughbreds’ Lovesick will seek her third victory in as many starts at Gulfstream Park Saturday in the $75,000 Azalea Stakes, a seven-furlong sprint for 3-year-old fillies.

The Azalea will be a supporting feature on the Summit of Speed program that will be headlined by the $250,000 Princess Rooney (G2), a seven-furlong Breeders’ Cup ‘Win & You’re In’ stakes for fillies and mares, and the $250,000 Smile Sprint (G3), a six-furlong dash for 3-year-olds and up.

Lovesick returned from a 5 ½-month layoff to capture the May 31 Liza Jane Stakes at Gulfstream in eye-catching fashion. The daughter of Adios Charlie broke slowly from the starting gate to spot the field several lengths before settling into stride under jockey Edgard Zayas along the backstretch, swinging five-wide on the turn into the homestretch and drawing away to win  by 1 ½ lengths.

“She stood in the gate and I don’t know what happened at the break, but she didn’t break well. Still, she proved best in there and overcame all that and won going away,” trainer David Fawkes said. “Looking at the noms and seeing what’s in there, I expect another good performance out of her.”

Lovesick, an $80,000 purchase at the 2018 OBS April Sale, debuted at Gulfstream Park last August with a dominating 4 ½-length front-running triumph at 4 ½ furlongs. She came back three months later at Gulfstream Park West to win the Juvenile Fillies Sprint for Florida-bred fillies, in which she showed the way throughout the 6 ½-furlong sprint on her way to a three-length triumph.

The Fawkes trainee tasted defeat for the first and only time in December at Tampa Bay Downs, where she chased loose-on-the-lead pacesetter and eventual winner Fashion Faux Pas before tiring to third.

“We just gave her some time after the Tampa race and let her grow up a little bit, and she did that. She’s doing great, excellent,” Fawkes said. “She worked the other day and worked as good as you could have asked.”

Lovesick has breezed twice, including a five-furlong move in 1:00.45 last Saturday, since her triumphant return to action in the Liza Jane.

“She keeps moving forward. In fact, I think you’ll see an even more improved effort,” said Fawkes, who awarded the return mount to Zayas.

Laurie Plesa’s Itsmyluckycharm is slated to seek her seventh first-place finish in her last eight starts in the Azalea. The Eddie Plesa Jr.-trained filly is a multiple-stakes winner who captured the Mrs. Presidentress on turf Feb. 18 and the June 7 Portofino Bay on dirt.

The daughter of Itsmyluckyday is undefeated in two starts at seven furlongs on dirt, having captured the of-the-turf Portofino last time out and an optional claiming allowance Dec. 12.

Albin Jimenez has the return mount aboard Itsmyluckycharm.

Carrie Brogden, Robert Slack and Dennis Smith’s Just Ain’t Right, who finished third behind Lovesick in the Liza Jane, is scheduled to take on the Fawkes trainee again Saturday.

“We weren’t really shooting for the Liza Jane. It popped up in the condition book. It was mainly my fault because I don’t think she was as fit as she should be,” trainer Rohan Crichton said. “She wasn’t as tight as I wanted. I’m not saying she will win this race, but I think she’s going to run a vastly improved race this time.”

Just Ain’t Right, who was purchased at the 2018 Keeneland April sale for $150,000, won her first two career starts on Gulfstream’s main track during the Championship Meet before finishing third in both the Melody of Colors Stakes on turf Feb. 12 and the Liza Jane on dirt. Jane.

Luis Saez is scheduled to travel to Aqueduct to ride Just Ain’t Right, as well as Jalen Journey in the Smile Sprint.

Calinas Song, who finished second in the Liza Jane in her stakes debut for Cal-Ram Racing LLC and Great American Horse Company, is also slated to take on Lovesick again in the Azalea. Jairo Rendon has the mount.

Stonehedge LLC’s Blazing Brooke is set to make her 2019 debut in the Azalea following a juvenile campaign that included a pair of third-place finishes in the FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes series.

“She’s doing good. She hasn’t run in a while but it’s going up against straight 3-year-olds and it might be a good place to start her off,” said trainer Kathleen O’Connell, who gave the riding assignment to Jose Batista.

Dana Grace, Dizzy, Malibu Rainbow and Sky Chaser round out the field.

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