Third in last year’s Grade 2 Bessarabian won by fellow Florida-bred Our Flash Drive, Antony Beck’s Gainesway Stable and LNJ Foxwoods’ Loyalty avenged that loss with a length-and-a-half victory in the 2023 edition of the CA$181,700 stakes at Woodbine Saturday. Trained by Josie Carroll and ridden by Kazushi Kimura, Loyalty ran down 18-1 longshot Love to Shop and Our Flash Drive with an outside rally in deep stretch to win against a large field of 13 fillies and mares going seven furlongs over the all-weather main track and keep the Bessarabian title among Florida-breds for the second consecutive year.
Loyalty broke well from post six then settled mid-pack in seventh as Owen’s Tour Guide led down the backstretch to finish the quarter-mile in :23.11 while a half-length in front of Miss Dracarys, Collecting Flatter and Love to Shop in a joint second.
Loyalty began to pass horses around the turn while seven-wide as Owen’s Tour Guide maintained the advantage until the top of the stretch. Turning for home, Our Flash Drive used a ground-saving trip on the rail to take a short lead with Love to Shop also making a bid while three-wide when Loyalty burst on the scene on the far outside. Loyalty used her momentum to surge past Love to Shop in deep stretch and went on to win in 1:22.27.
Love to Shop finished a neck in front of a late-running Dolce Sopresa, who was a half-length faster than Our Flash Drive in fourth. They were followed in order by Awesome Treat, Time for an Angel, Artie’s Princess, Ready to Venture, Miss Dracarys, Spun Glass, Owen’s Tour Guide, Florida-bred Midnight Stroll and Collecting Flatter.
Baby No Worries was scratched.
“I thought [Loyalty] was extremely tenacious today,” Carroll said. “She had every reason not to dig in. She was kind of shuffling around there a little bit and then she pinned her ears and away she went. It’s pretty exciting when you get to handle a horse like that.”
Loyalty went off as the 3-1 favorite and paid $8.10 to win.
The victory was the second graded stakes at Woodbine for Loyalty, who won the Grade 3 Hendrie going six-and-a-half furlongs on the main track in July. She also vindicated a third-place finish behind Spun Glass and Awesome Treat, who were first and second respectively, in the Grade 3 Ontario Fashion in their previous start on Oct. 14 racing six furlongs at Woodbine.
“Last time, there were only a few horses in the front and she was aggressive from the beginning,” Kimura said of Loyalty in the Ontario Fashion. “But today, there were so many frontrunners that fortunately we could set up behind and she was so comfortable from behind and she finished up strong.”
With a victory in the CA$125,000 Duchess at the Toronto oval last year, Loyalty is now six for eight at Woodbine with two thirds. She has won seven of 11 races overall with two thirds and a lifetime bankroll of US$398,647.
Loyalty is by Hard Spun out of Slew’s Quality, by Elusive Quality and was bred in Florida by Thomas and Lori Fackler’s Best A Luck Farm LLC and Godolphin LLC.
Loyalty is a half-sister to 2018 Eclipse Award Champion Sprinter and Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint-winner Shamrock Rose, by Double Diamond Farm stallion First Dude; and stakes-placed Bet On Mike, by Biondetti. Slew’s Quality has produced seven winners from nine starters and has an unnamed yearling colt by Authentic. She was bred to Yaupon and Jackie’s Warrior in 2023.