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Luscious Lonna Wires Rivals In Golden Poppy Stakes
Luscious Lonna, claimed for $6,250 in 2011, posted a wire-to-wire upset victory in the $61,350 Golden Poppy Stakes at Golden Gate Fields Sunday.
Making her stakes debut in the 1 1/16-mile turf race for fillies and mares, Luscious Lonna defeated 10 rivals, including Grade 2 stakes-winners Halo Dolly and Vamo a Galupiar.
Luscious Lonna took command immediately under jockey Jesus Velazquez and was never threatened en route to winning the Golden Poppy by 2 1/2 lengths over Lady Aspen. Halo Dolly, the even-money favorite, finished third, a half-length behind Lady Aspen and a half-length ahead of Vamo a Galupiar, the 5-2 second choice.
“I thought they were going to put more pressure on me but they let me go by myself,” said Velazquez, who earned his second career stakes victory. “She relaxed and when I asked her at the top of the stretch she responded. She’s a nice filly.”
Luscious Lonna is trained by Nick Sloan, who claimed Luscious Lonna out of her second career start. Luscious Lonna made one start for Sloan – finishing third in a starter allowance race on the turf – before she went to the sidelines for more than a year due to an injury.
Luscious Lonna returned to the races last September and has rewarded Sloan for his patience by winning five of eight starts since the layoff.
“This is the first horse I ever had that’s run above the claiming level,” said Sloan, who owns Luscious Lonna in partnership with Jon Harris and Bonnie Marshall.
Luscious Lonna earned $39,550 for Sunday’s win and has made $137,650 for Sloan and his partners while registering five wins, two seconds, and a third in nine starts for the group.
Luscious Lonna won the Golden Poppy in 1:45.86 on a yielding turf course and paid $26.80. Bred in California, Luscious Lonna is a 5-year-old daughter of Benchmark.
Racing will resume at Golden Gate Fields Thursday. Post time is 12:45 p.m.
Golden Gate Fields is a Stronach Group company, North America's leading Thoroughbred racetrack owner/operator. The Stronach Group racetracks include Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park & Casino, Golden Gate Fields, Portland Meadows, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, home of the world-famous Preakness. The company is one of North America's top race horse breeders through its Adena Springs operation. The company owns and operates AmTote, a global leader in wagering technology, and XpressBet, an Internet and telephone account wagering service. The Stronach Group is also a major producer of televised horseracing programming through its HRTV cable and satellite network and is North America's premier supplier of virtual online horseracing games, as well as a leading producer of social media content for the horseracing industry.