Waterville Lake Stable’s homebred Miss Valentine took over the lead in the final sixteenth to score her seventh career stakes victory in Friday’s $90,000 No Reason Stakes for older New York-bred fillies and mares run at one mile over Belmont’s main track.
Miss Valentine (Afleet Alex) came into the No Reason after more than five months off with a history of running well fresh for trainer Christophe Clement. The chestnut was also looking for a third consecutive stakes victory, having wound up her 4-year-old season with back-to-back scores in the Chase the Dream and Lottsa Talc Stakes at Aqueduct in November and December.
Reunited for her 5-year-old debut with Kentucky Derby-winning rider Joel Rosario, who had piloted the filly to a runner-up finish behind runaway winner Willet in the Iroquois on Showcase Day last October and to victory in the Chase the Dream, Miss Valentine backed off the early pace set by Harbor Mist (23.86, 47.14) to race in fourth from post four, while Clear Pasaj (Smoke Glacken) pursued the pacesetter two lengths behind in second.
Around the far turn, Miss Valentine moved up into third, advancing steadily as Clear Pasaj took over the lead from Harbor Mist. Angled out three-wide Miss Valentine came under a ride in the stretch, passed Clear Pasaj around the sixteenth marker and edged ahead to get the win by a half-length. Clear Pasaj finished second, keeping a head in front of Lady On the Run, who ran last in the early stages but launched a bid in the turn and closed eagerly on the outside to get third. Erin Enchanted finished fourth, followed by Go Unbridled and Harbor Mist. Fiftyfour Forever was scratched.
Miss Valentine’s seventh stakes victory, which came in a final time of 1:37.53 over the “good” going on the Belmont main track, improves her record to 8-5-1 from 19 starts and increases her earnings to $470,500. Miss Valentine has not raced outside of stakes company since her second start when she won the Swirlaway at Aqueduct in November 2010. She has fared well against open rivals, in 2011 winning the Serena’s Song at Monmouth and Mom’s Command at Belmont, and finishing second in the Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks in 2011.
Foaled at Berkshire Stud in Pine Plains, Miss Valentine is out of the multiple black type-placed Gilded Time mare Miss Yiayia ($175,970), who has produced all winners from five foals to start. Purchased upon retirement by Winter Quarter Farm for $195,000 at the 2001 Keeneland November sale, Miss Yiayia changed hands again in 2009 going to David J. Fiske (agent) for $10,000 at the Keeneland January sale.
Miss Yiayia’s other six-figure earner is New York-bred Thunder Chief, by Thunder Gulch ($164,930).