Multiple Grade I winner Lovely Maria will not contest the $2 million Breeders' Cup Distaff at Keeneland on Oct. 30, trainer Larry Jones said Tuesday morning.
Jones said that Lovely Maria appeared to be in good order following her fifth-place finish in Sunday's Grade I Juddmonte Spinster, which was also her third straight loss since capturing the Kentucky Oaks on May 1. Instead of pushing forward with the bay daughter of Majesticperfection, Jones said he and owner Brereton Jones have decided to give the filly some time off.
"She won two Grade I's, she's a millionaire, she has earned a rest," said Larry Jones, who still has a Distaff contender in Grade I winner I'm a Chatterbox. "So they're going to rest her up a little bit and then see what happens."
Lovely Maria won three of her first four starts of 2015 including a 31/4-length victory in the Grade I Ashland Stakes at Keeneland on April 4. She was at the very top of her game when she drew off to a 23/4-length win in the Kentucky Oaks over a field that included stablemate I'm a Chatterbox, but has not finished better than fifth in three outings since.
Lovely Maria has four wins from 11 career starts with earnings of $1,003,000.
Breeders' Cup works
Graded stakes-winning stablemates Catch a Glimpse and Conquest Daddyo put in their first serious moves since arriving at Keeneland in advance of this year's Breeders' Cup on Oct. 30-31, working 5 furlongs in company over the main track Tuesday.
After breaking off together, the pair of Mark Casse-trained 2-year-olds stayed on relatively even terms until the stretch when Catch a Glimpse drew away from her male counterpart, finishing up a couple lengths in front. The chestnut filly was timed in 1:00 flat by Keeneland clockers but officially given a time of 1:01 with Conquest Daddyo clocked in 1:01.60 according to Equibase.
"The filly looked like she was going pretty easy," said Jamie Begg, assistant to Casse. "I think (Conquest Daddyo) likes it more over the turf."
Catch a Glimpse and Conquest Daddyo are expected to be among the contenders for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf and Juvenile Turf, respectively. Catch a Glimpse will likely vie for favoritism as she is coming off a 5-length victory in the Grade II Natalma Stakes at Woodbine on Sept. 12, her second win in three starts.
"She's a pretty happy horse and she's really matured," Begg said of the daughter of City Zip.
Conquest Daddyo also prevailed on the Woodbine card on Sept. 12, taking the Grade II Summer Stakes by 13/4 lengths. The son of Scat Daddy has won two of his three career starts.
Casse, coming off a Saratoga meet where he saddled just three winners from 42 starts, has fives wins through the first three days of the Keeneland meet.
Palace to Spendthrift
B. Wayne Hughes' Spendthrift Farm has acquired the breeding rights to Palace, the multiple Grade I-winning son of City Zip who is set to retire at the end of his 2015 campaign that will include a start in the $1.5 million Breeders' Cup Sprint on Oct. 31 at Keeneland. "Palace is the best colt by perennial leading sire City Zip, and he's a great-looking individual," said Ned Toffey, the farm's GM.