He Loves Me Delivers Winning Wish

(from Pimlico report)
He Loves Me tracked undefeated Plata to the top of the lane before muscling her way to the lead and going on to victory in the $75,000 Caesar's Wish Stakes for 3-year-old Maryland-bred fillies at Pimlico Saturday.

Ridden by jockey Jozbin Santana, He Loves Me proved that her recent win in Laurel's Wide Country Stakes was no fluke. Plata charged to the lead at the start, and when no one went with her, Santana chose to force the action with He Loves Me. His strategy paid off with a three-quarter of a length victory in 1:44 3/5 for the 1-1/16 mile distance on the main track.

"We knew we were going slow (:25 for the quarter, :49 1/5 for the half) and that's why I moved at the half-mile pole, just to put more pressure on the other horse and see if that would tire her out," Santana said. "It worked out perfectly."

"She's just a lovely filly," said winning trainer Richard Small, who also trained Caeser's Wish. "She's class all over. She relishes the distance."

He Loves me paid $6.40 and $2.80 as the third choice in a four-horse field. Plata returned $2.40. Dance Fee was third.

Santana rode four winners on the card and moved into a first place tie in the spring standings with Ryan Fogelsonger and Ramon Dominguez. The 24-year old also reached the winners' circle with Casey Jean ($15.20, third), Miner's Mint ($5.20, fifth) and Perilous Night ($4.20, ninth).

(Chart, Equibase)