Paulina’s Love breaks through in Buena Vista

Profile Picture: Kellie Reilly

February 21st, 2016

The main question going into Saturday’s $202,070 Buena Vista (G2) was which turf distaffer would jump up this time at Santa Anita. This circuit has seen a revolving door of winners each taking her turn in graded stakes, and that trend continued when Paulina’s Love notched her first stakes victory.

Bet down to 7-2 from a 12-1 morning line, the Richard Baltas trainee brought a progressive profile along with a consistent record over the Santa Anita turf and at a mile. Add in a well-judged ride by Hall of Famer Gary Stevens, and it totals success.

Paulina’s Love was among the trio on the far outside who had to step on the gas to clear the rest of the field and angle over early. She secured a good spot to stalk 20-1 shot Moanin through fractions of :22.84 and :46.36 on the good course. Her Emmynency, the 3-1 favorite in her return and first start for Kristin Mulhall, took closer order as they approached the far turn.

Meanwhile, Paulina’s Love took over from the retreating Moanin at the six-furlong mark in 1:10.90. Her Emmynency continued to travel well turning into the stretch, when she appeared poised to engage Paulina’s Love. Instead, Her Emmynency became one-paced, and Paulina’s Love found a change of gear to spurt ahead.

If there’s been one constant of late, it’s the presence of Stormy Lucy at the finish, and she played her role once more. For the fourth straight race, she came storming at the end. The upset winner of the Matriarch (G1) who was excellent in near-misses in both the Robert J. Frankel (G3) and Megahertz (G3), Stormy Lucy was closing the gap relentlessly here.

But Paulina’s Love held on by a neck while clocking 1:36.06. Keri Belle, the Megahertz winner, checked in third. Her Emmynency wound up fourth. Judging by how well she traveled through the race before tiring, “Emmy” can move forward off this comeback.

Campaigned by KM Racing Enterprise and Head of Plains Partners, Paulina’s Love has now bankrolled $304,990 from her 13-4-3-3 record. The May 16 foal was entitled to need more time to mature. She broke her maiden in her seventh career start, but first for Baltas, at this course and distance April 15. After quickly following up in an entry-level allowance, she finished third to Prize Exhibit in the San Clemente (G2) at Del Mar. She was only seventh in the Del Mar Oaks (G1), where the combination of nine furlongs, and trying to wing it up front, were too much for her. Back down to a mile at Santa Anita, the chestnut was a close second in the October 17 Autumn Miss (G3). She signaled improvement when romping in a second-level allowance here December 30, and confirmed that impression on Saturday.

Paulina’s Love was bred by Jason Hall in Louisiana. The daughter of Mizzen Mast and the Spinning World mare Electric Cove fetched $100,000 as a 2-year-old in training at OBS April.

Quotes from Santa Anita

Hall of Fame rider Gary Stevens on Paulina's Love: “I’ve fallen in love with her. These guys have been so patient with her and have allowed Richard to do what he wants with her. She just keeps developing and getting better and better. She exploded at the eighth pole just like the last time and when I saw 12-1 on the morning line with an 88 Beyer number last time . . . that wasn’t right; she exploded that day.

“I rode her with a lot of confidence, like she was the favorite. She minds, she lets me do what I want, whatever the pace scenario is. When she’s done, I’d like to take her home and put her in my backyard.”

Assistant trainer David Meah on Paulina's Love: “She’s special at this distance and even better when she gets a little time between races like we did here. Seven, eight weeks is a huge thing for her. Four or five weeks, she doesn’t fire like this, but seven, eight weeks and she can fire."

Photo courtesy of Benoit.