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Loyalty comes up big in Grade 2 Bessarabian

November 11, 2023

TORONTO, November 11, 2023 – Loyalty, under Kazushi Kimura, got back to her winning ways in Saturday’s $175,000 Bessarabian Stakes (G2) at Woodbine.

It was a spirited start to the seven-furlong main track race for fillies & mares, 3-year-olds and upward, with 103-1 Owen’s Tour Guide emerging on top, followed by the quartet of Miss Dracarys, Collecting Flatter, Ready To Venture (GB) and Love to Shop. Owen’s Tour Guide owned a half-length lead over Miss Dracarys through an opening panel timed in :23.11, while Loyalty sat seventh of 13 (Baby No Worries was scratched).

Owen’s Tour Guide still led the pack through a half-mile in :45.67 but was confronted by a host of rivals into the turn for home. Loyalty, trained by Josie Carroll, had loomed into contention, gathering up steam between foes and bursting through with authority to take aim at the leaders.

A head back of Our Flash Drive (last year’s winner) at the stretch call, the 4-year-old daughter of Hard Spun-Slew’s Quality went on to record a 1 ½-length triumph in a time of 1:22.27. Love to Shop was second, a neck clear of late-running Dolce Sopresa, also conditioned by Carroll. Our Flash Drive was fourth.

Loyalty and jockey Kazushi Kimura winning the Bessarabian Stakes on November 11, 2023 at Woodbine (Michael Burns Photo)
Loyalty and jockey Kazushi Kimura winning the Bessarabian Stakes on November 11, 2023 at Woodbine (Michael Burns Photo)

“Last time, there were only a few horses in the front, and she was aggressive from the beginning,” said Kimura. “But today, there were so many frontrunners that fortunately we could set up behind and she was so comfortable from behind and she finished up strong.”

It was the first victory for Loyalty since July 23 when she earned her first graded crown in the Hendrie (G3). She was fourth in the Presque Isle Downs Masters Stakes (G2) on September 18 and third in the Ontario Fashion (G3) on October 14.  The dark bay also won last year’s Lady Erie Stakes at Presque Isle and the 2022 edition of the Alywow Stakes at Woodbine.

“I thought she was extremely tenacious today,” praised Carroll. “She had every reason not to dig in, she was kind of shuffling around there a little bit and then she pinned her ears and away she went. It’s pretty exciting when you get to handle a horse like that.”

Owned by Gainesway Stable and LNJ Foxwoods, Loyalty was bred in Florida by Best A Luck Farm LLC and Godolphin LLC. She was a $270,000 purchase at the 2020 Keeneland Association September Yearling Sale.

She is now 7-0-2 from 11 starts.

Loyalty, the slight 3-1 choice, paid $8.10 for the win.

Chris Lomon, Woodbine Communications / @WoodbineComms

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