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Luscious Lonna Repeats In Golden Poppy Stakes
Luscious Lonna, a 12-1 outsider when she won the 2013 Golden Poppy Stakes, successfully defended her title in the 1 1/16-mile turf stakes as an even-money favorite Saturday at Golden Gate Fields.
Just as she did 13 months ago, Luscious Lonna led from start to finish in the 2014 edition of the Golden Poppy. Trained by Nick Sloan and ridden by Juan Hernandez, Luscious Lonna scored by 1 3/4 lengths in 1:43.13 and paid $4.00.
Koby Jo, ridden by Ricardo Gonzalez, took second by three-quarters of a length over Spring Bloom and jockey William Antongeorgi III.
The Golden Poppy field was reduced to seven runners Saturday morning when Halo Dolly, the 8-5 morning line favorite who was coming off a third-place finish in a stakes at Santa Anita on April 26, was scratched.
“We just decided that we were probably bringing her back a little too soon,” said Jerry Hollendorfer, trainer of Halo Dolly.
The defection of Halo Dolly, a multiple stakes-winner, certainly didn’t bother Sloan.
“If Halo Dolly hadn’t been scratched, she probably would have been pressuring us from second but this field thought they would get her in the stretch, but they didn’t,” said Sloan.
Hernandez rode Luscious Lonna for the first time Saturday and came away impressed with the 6-year-old mare.
“She’s very easy to ride because she does whatever you ask her to do,” said Hernandez. “She broke clean and went to the front easy. Nobody put any pressure on her. At the top of the stretch I asked her and she responded. She won easy.”
Luscious Lonna earned $39,450 for the victory – her eighth win in 17 career starts. A California-bred daughter of Benchmark, Luscious Lonna has finished in the money in all but two of her races.
Sloan claimed Luscious Lonna out of her second career start for $6,250 on March 10, 2011. Luscious Lonna has earned $209,602 in 15 races for Sloan and his ownership partners, Jon Harris and Bonnie Marshall.
Racing continues at Golden Gate Fields Sunday with a nine-race program that is highlighted by the $75,000 Alcatraz Stakes, a one-mile turf race for 3-year-olds. G. G. Ryder, a colt who has four wins in five starts this year, heads a field of five.
Post time is 12:45 p.m. and the track is offering fans $1 general parking, $1 general admission, $1 programs, $1 beers, $1 hot dogs, and $1 sodas.