In last year’s race to decide Michigan’s top older female, it was Valley Loot and everyone else.
Valley Loot will take her first step toward defending that title this Saturday when she makes her first start of the year at Pinnacle Race Course in the $50,000 Larkspur Handicap.
A field of nine will enter the gates for the six furlong race, including four former Sire Stakes winners.
The favorite will almost certainly be 2008 Michigan Horse of the Year Valley Loot. The five-year-old Demaloot Demashoot mare won last year’s installment of the Larkspur by 2 3/4 lengths and enters the race off a front-running victory in the June 16 Golden Sylvia Stakes at Mountaineer Race Track and Casino. Federico Mata will get the assignment in the saddle for owner Lisa Campbell and trainer Ronnie Allen, Sr.. Not surprisingly, Valley Loot is the field’s highweight.
The second half of the Campbell/Allen contingent is fellow Sire Stakes winner Wave Pool. The four-year-old Sea Legs filly won the three-year-old female division of last year’s Sire Stakes en route to earning the crop’s top honors. Wave Pool comes off a second-place finish in an allowance race at Pinnacle on June 12. Ivan Gonzalez will take the irons.
A two-time Sire Stakes winner and top horse in her division in 2006 and ’07, Nell’s Enjoyment will look to get her stakes career back on track this Saturday. The six-year-old Quiet Enjoyment mare was well beaten in her three tries in stakes company in 2008, but turned things around in her last start of the year at Pinnacle, closing from the clouds to win a stakes-caliber allowance race against the likes of fellow Larkspur entrants Wave Pool, Dublin Dutchess and Silent Sunset. She enters off a fifth place finish in a June 1 allowance race at Indiana Downs. Nell’s Enjoyment is owned and trained by Shane Spiess and will be ridden by Ricardo Barrios.
Also entered is the only horse to beat Valley Loot in a Sire Stakes race, Dublin Dutchess. The five-year-old Native Factor mare defeated Valley Loot during the 2006 installment of the two-year-old division’s Sire Stakes at Great Lakes Downs. Dublin Dutchess ran second to Valley Loot in last year’s Larkspur. Owned by Mast Thoroughbreds, LLC and trained by Bob Gorham, Dublin Dutchess will have the services of Augusto Marin in the saddle.
Here is a list of the entries for Saturday’s Larkspur Handicap…
#. Horse / Jockey / Trainer / Odds
1. Yawm Estoora / A.O. Stanley / R. P. Inman / 10-1
2. Nell’s Enjoyment / R Barrios / S. M. Spiess / 15-1
3. Tillie The Hunn / G. Laurente / L. R. Uelmen / 20-1
4. She Could Be Good / J. Skerrett / R. M. Gorham / 5-1
5. Wave Pool / I. R. Gonzalez / R. D. Allen, Sr / 8-1
6. Dublin Dutchess / A. A. Marin / R. M. Gorham / 12-1
7. Silent Sunset / G. W. Mayhew / J. A. Lewis / 25-1
8. Candy Cane / J. J. Delgado / J. C. Rupert / 3-1
9. Valley Loot / F. Mata / R. D. Allen, Sr. / 6-5