Angela's Love Conquers All in Gardenia

Angela's Love and jockey Mark Guidry took command at the head of the stretch and rolled to a 4 3/4-length victory in the $200,000 Gardenia Handicap (gr. III) at Ellis Park Saturday for her first graded stakes victory.

Miss Fortunate was second in the 1 1/8-mile test for fillies and mares, a half-length ahead of 9-10 choice Bare Necessities, the 2003 Gardenia winner who faded to third, a nose in front of pacesetting Wildwood Royal. The final time was 1:49 2/5.

Dale Romans, whose Roses in May won the Whitney Handicap (gr. I) at Saratoga earlier in the day, trains Angela's Love for owners Bill and Vicki Poston.

Angela's Love tracked Wildwood Royal through moderate fractions of :23 3/5, :47 2/5 and 1:11 3/5. She briefly dueled with Bare Necessities, ridden by Rene Douglas, before pulling clear while running wide through the stretch under urging from Guidry.

Miss Fortunate, who tracked the leaders, was second best but did not challenge the winner. Bare Necessities, who maneuvered five wide on the turn, rallied briefly before fading badly in the stretch. The 119-pound high weight, she lost for the sixth straight time.

New Dreams and Salvurita trailed.

Angela's Love, a 4-year-old filly by Not For Love, was well beaten in both of her most recent races, a sixth-place finish in the Pimico Breeders' Cup Distaff Handicap (gr. III) May 14 and a fourth-place showing in the sloppy Fleur de Lis Handicap (gr. III) at Churchill Downs June 12. She made her Ellis Park debut in the Gardenia.

Overall, she's won six of 11 career starts, early doubling her career earnings with the $120,000 winner's share to $256,280.

A $58,000 sale as a yearling, Angela's Love was bred in Maryland by Dr. George E. Harmening, Kimberly Harmening & William Campbell.

The fourth choice in the field of six, she paid $11, $5 and $3. Miss Fortunate returned $4.60 and $2.60. Bare Necessities was $2.10 to show.

(Chart, Equibase)