Love to Tell dictated the pace from the start under Justin Shepherd, catching her rivals napping en route to a 2 1/4-length upset victory in the $125,000 Bayou Handicap on the Fair Grounds turf Feb. 21.
The 4-year-old daughter of Stage Colony moved clear to lead soon after the start and set extremely slow fractions before leaving Mizzcan'tbewrong behind in upper stretch. The chestnut filly led by three lengths at the eighth pole and cruised home in the about 1 1/8-mile test of older fillies and mares. The 7-1 shot was timed in 1:56.48 on firm going.
Mizzcan'tbewrong, ridden by Jesus Castanon, finished two lengths ahead of Sharbat and Nans Joy, who finished in a dead-heat for third. Shytoe Lafeet, the 9-5 favorite and 121-pound high weight in the field of eight, finished fifth, nearly seven lengths behind the winner.
Love to Tell milked fractions of :26.79, :54.73 and 1:20.42 while building a two-length lead on the turn for home. She was in full control as the field made the stretch and she was never threatened.
Mike Burgess trains Love to Tell for owner Lucas Downs Ltd. Out of Kentucky Whisper, by Southern Halo, the winner was bred in Kentucky by Edmond and Sharon Hudon.
“She can come from off the pace or go to the lead,” said Burgess after completing the first three-win day of his career, “but when you see a half of 54 you’d better be on the engine. When I saw that split I said ‘Okay – we’re gone!’ ”
Love to Tell, who was coming off a third-place finish in the 1 1/16-mile Marie G. Krantz Memorial Handicap over the course Jan. 24, earned her fifth lifetime win 14 starts. The winner's share of $75,000 boosted her career earnings to $214,173. The filly won the Pago Hop at Fair Grounds Dec. 6 and the Honeymoon at Louisiana Downs Aug. 16.
She carried 119 pounds to victory and paid $17.60, $9 and $5.80. Mizzcan'tbewrong, trained by Richard Scherer, returned $11 and $6.80 and was past of $2 exacta worth $158. Sharbat, ridden by Corey Lanerie for trainer Ralph Nicks, paid $3.60. The late-running Irish-bred Nans Joy was $2.60 to show with Robby Albarado aboard for Bill Mott.