Heav­enly Love show­ing Grade 1 class

Daily Racing Form National Digital Edition - - News - By Ni­cole Russo

Debby Ox­ley sells many of the horses she breeds as part of her busi­ness model. But when her Grade 1-placed mare Dar­ling My Dar­ling, then 18, de­liv­ered a Mal­ibu Moon filly two years ago, she strate­gi­cally elected to re­tain the filly as a fu­ture mem­ber of the fam­ily for the brood­mare band.

“I sell a lot, but Dar­ling’s get­ting older,” Ox­ley said.

There was an­other rea­son she wanted to see the filly run in her col­ors.

“Some­times, you’ve just gotta have fun,” she said.

Ox­ley and her hus­band, John, had plenty of fun last Fri­day at Keeneland as Dar­ling My Dar­ling’s daugh­ter Heav­enly Love, ears pricked, rolled to a 5 1/2-length vic­tory in the Grade 1 Al­cib­i­ades Stakes, her first two-turn dirt start, to se­cure her spot in the Breeders’ Cup Ju­ve­nile Fil­lies.

The Al­cib­i­ades was one of two races last week­end of­fer­ing a fees-paid berth in the Ju­ve­nile Fil­lies. The other was the Grade 1 Frizette Stakes on Sun­day at Belmont, where Sepa­ra­tionof­pow­ers, beaten af­ter a sui­ci­dal speed duel last out, bounced back with a 3 1/2-length score in the one-mile race.

The Ox­leys pur­chased Dar­ling My Dar­ling as a year­ling in 1998, and she was mul­ti­ple Grade 1-placed as a ju­ve­nile, beaten three-quar­ters of a length by Fin­der’s Fee in the Ma­tron and just a head by Surf­side in the Frizette. She went on to be­come a mul­ti­ple stakes win­ner at Keeneland, win­ning the 2000 Raven Run and 2001 Dou­ble­dog­dare be­fore join­ing the brood­mare band. The Deputy Min­is­ter mare is the dam of five win­ners from as many starters, in­clud­ing Grade 2 win­ner For­ever Dar­ling, whom Ox­ley sold as a year­ling.

Heav­enly Love made her de­but in a six-fur­long dirt sprint in June at Gulfstream Park; she fin­ished third af­ter be­ing stead­ied at the start and rac­ing wide. She was sub­se­quently given some time to re­group and trained so well over the sum­mer that as­sis­tant trainer David Car­roll, in­stru­men­tal in the filly’s devel­op­ment, urged Mark Casse to give her a start at Kentucky Downs.

“I begged him to run her,” Car­roll said. “I just thought she was sit­ting on such a huge race, and she needed to run. Mark does a great job of run­ning not­nec­es­sar­ily-turf horses on the turf just to get ex­pe­ri­ence for them.”

Go­ing six fur­longs on the turf, Heav­enly Love, eighth at the quar­ter pole, made a sweep­ing move to draw off and win by five lengths. That opened the door to stakes com­pany at Keeneland – but on which sur­face?

“We re­ally didn’t ex­pect her to run on the grass as well as she did” given her breed­ing, Debby Ox­ley said. “That was a sur­prise. And she had trained well on the dirt. We could have run her [in the Al­cib­i­ades] or could have run in the Jes­samine.”

They se­lected the Grade 1 race, where Heav­enly Love showed she had that most im­por­tant of at­tributes.

“Her works were just awe­some, her dis­po­si­tion, every­thing about her just oozes class,” Car­roll said. “I said to [the Ox­leys] be­fore the race, ‘What you’re see­ing right now is some­thing you can’t buy – class.’ Her dis­po­si­tion, the way she walks, she has that look about her. And she ran to all of that.”

◗ Princess War­rior came into the Al­cib­i­ades off a de­but vic­tory at Churchill Downs and fin­ished a cred­itable sec­ond. She was fur­ther flat­tered when Mia Mis­chief, sec­ond by 1 1/2 lengths in that maiden race, romped by 16 1/4 lengths on a sloppy, sealed track Sun­day at Keeneland.

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