Pimlico like home for Lily's Affair

Mare wins by a length for first victory since May

Horse Racing

April 09, 2001|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

Since last May, Lily's Affair had competed at five different tracks without reaching the winner's circle.

But she returned to the scene of her previous triumph yesterday to score a front-running victory over five rivals in the $75,000 Primonetta Stakes at Pimlico.

It was the first victory for the five-year-old mare since May 14, when she came from last place to capture the $75,000 Skipat Stakes. Eight more races had expired before she finally got back on track.

Jose Velez Jr. rode Lily's Affair to the wire in a rapid 1:09 4/5, prevailing by a length over Sincerely. The 1-to-2 favorite, Lucky Livi dueled with Lily's Affair for most of the six furlongs, but faded to third, beaten by 3 1/2 lengths.

"We got lucky," said Velez, who had never ridden the horse, but was available because of a lack of mounts at Delaware Park. "We got an easy pace. I let my mare go easy in the beginning and she had a lot left. She never gave up, fired and won without much trouble."

Lily's Affair completed the final furlong in 12.11 seconds to finish less than a second off the track record of 1:09 for the distance.

There were no particular instructions for Velez, who had previously worked for trainer Michael Gorham.

"He told me to ride her with confidence and just try to keep her clear," said the jockey. "I got her running on the front and let her stay there."

Said Gorham: "She looked like she was comfortable up there. I just said to get good position. She finished up strong and this might possibly be her best race."

Lucky Livi pressed the pace and was in perfect position to strike, then couldn't hold off Sincerely for the place.

A daughter of Belmont Stakes winner Colonial Affair, Lily's Affair shipped to Pimlico 10 days ago. She is now 8-for-23 lifetime with career earnings of more than $300,000.

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