Eye Luv Lulu gets breakthrough stakes win in Affirmed Success on Belmont’s Opening Day

Friday, April 27th, 2018

NYRA/Joe Labozzetta

By Sarah Mace

Michael Dubb’s Eye Luv Lulu got a breakthrough stakes victory on Opening Day at Belmont Park, winning the seventh running of the $100,000 Affirmed Success Stakes for older New York-bred sprinters.

In 42 prior starts dating back to 2013, the hard-knocking 7-year old gelding by Pollard’s Vision had hit the board in seven stakes races, including a runner-up finish to Celtic Chaos in last year’s Affirmed Success. The consistent and honest runner had also amassed over $600,000 in earnings. Still, a stakes victory had eluded him until Friday.

Drawn in the outside post of six, the Jason Servis-trainee was a well-backed 4-5 favorite. He obliged supporters when he got out of the gate briskly under Irad Ortiz, Jr., and cleared all his rivals except millionaire Weekend Hideaway, who broke from post one and assumed the lead, carving out a fast opening quarter-mile in 22.36.

Settled in the two-path a length back in second, Eye Luv Lulu shadowed Weekend Hideaway along the backstretch and into the far turn. He challenged his rival nearing the quarter pole and secured a slight edge as they were straightening away for the dash to the finish after a half in 45.19.

Edging away and clear by a length, Eye Luv Lulu was called to put in a final effort to ward off 12-1 Pat On the Back, who was closing with good energy. Victorious by three-quarters of a length, Eye Luv Lulu stopped the clock in a final time of 1.09.78.

Weekend Hideaway got the show three lengths back, keeping a neck in front of Loki’s Vengeance. Completing the order of finish were Caledonian and Gypsum Johnny. [VIDEO REPLAY]

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

“It was an easy ride,” said Ortiz, Jr. “I broke well outside; I had a good post. I just sat there and waited to make my move. When I asked him, he was there for me.”

Describing the closing stages of the race, Ortiz reported, “[Pat On the Back] was coming hard, but near the eighth pole, I just started [urging] my horse to give me everything he had, and he did.”

Four races into his sixth campaign, Eye Luv Lulu sports an impressive career record of 10 wins, 10 seconds and five thirds from 44 starts, with earnings of $696,616.

The gelding was bred by Donald Newman and foaled at Fawnridge Farm in East Nassau.

Carlos Martin trained Eye Luv Lulu for Newman for sixteen starts between October 2013 and June 2015, when he won three times, and placed in both the New York Derby and Mike Lee Stakes. A popular offering in the claim box, Eye Luv Lulu was ultimately haltered by Dubb for $40,000 in February of 2017. He spent the remainder of 2017 with trainer Rudy Rodriguez before going to the barn of Jason Servis, who had previously trained him for one race (a win).

Newman bought Eye Luv Lulu’s dam Honky Tonk Trick, who was bred by Barbara Brewer, in 2006 for $85,000 at the Fasig-Tipton preferred New York-bred yearling sale. A winner of one race, Honky Tonk Trick has gone on to produce three winners. Eye Love Lulu is the top earner and Tricky Zippy (City Zip) won the Union Avenue at Saratoga in 2015 in her stakes debut.

Honky Tonk Trick has a yearling colt by City Zip and was bred to Liam’s Map in 2017.


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