Waquoit’s Love, never out of the money in six starts on the Gulfstream Park turf, finally broke through with her first stakes win Jan. 11 when she scored a neck victory in the $100,000 Marshua’s River Stakes.
The roan/gray 6-year-old daughter of Not For Love , trained by Tim Hills for owner Dennis Federico, had a great trip with jockey Rene Douglas, riding the rail behind the pacesetting Beau Dare and slipping through along the hedge in upper stretch. Waquoit's Love broke clear by three lengths in the stretch, then had to dig deep to hold Darley Stable’s Sea Chanter and jockey John Velazquez safe at the wire in the 1 1/16-mile event for older fillies and mares.
The winning Maryland homebred mare was timed in in 1:41:10 over firm going. Stronach Stable’s Ginger Brew, the 11-10 favorite in the field of 11, rallied for third on the outside and led briefly at the top of the lane, but was outrun and finished 1 1/4 lengths behind Sea Chanter.
Waquoit’s Love, sent off at odds of 8-1, had been consigned to the Jan. 12 session of the Keeneland January horses of all ages sale, but was taken out last week after Federico and Hills decided to run her in the Marshua's River. She finished fifth last time out in the My Charmer Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Calder on Dec. 6 when she was in tight on the final turn.
Douglas picked up the mount after jockey Elvis Trujillo suffered a minor hand injury earlier on the card.
“I had my hands full," Douglas said. "This was like going in blind-folded because I didn’t know anything about her, and had no time to study or anything. She’s a big horse and the trainer (Hills) told me she had a long stride, so I tried not to restrain her very much. I wasn’t trying to do too much and it worked out. We turned it on once we hit the turn.”
Waquoit's Love had gone one year since her last victory, which came in an allowance race on the Gulfstream grass, and she had lost eight straight. She lost two head decisions in stakes races during the 2008 campaign. Her career mark now stands at 5-5-4 in 23 starts with earnings of $267,037. The Marshua's River win was worth $60,000.
“She was entered in the Keeneland sales for tomorrow, but we scratched her last week," Hills said. "We talked about it and decided that in today’s market, she wouldn’t bring what she’s really worth, and if she would win a stakes, she would be worth twice as much. She got a great trip today. I told Rene to put her in the race early. She’s so big that if she gets back too far, it takes too long to get her going. She’s been so close in stakes before.”
Beau Dare established realistic fractions of 23:66, 47:57, and 1:11:17 before fading on the turn.
Waquoit's Love paid $19.60, $8.20, and $4.60, keying a $2 exacta worth $268.80. Sea Chanter, trained by Todd Pletcher, returned $15 and $6.20. Ginger Brew, six-length winner of the Woodbine Oaks last year for conditioner Brian Lynch, was $2.60 to show in her first start since Nov. 9.
The winner is out of Waiquoit's Time, by Waquoit.