Photo courtesy of  Keeneland Association

Love Reigns (IRE) Takes FanDuel Limestone

LEXINGTON, KY (April 14, 2023) – Lael Stables’ Chez Pierre (FR) bid adieu to the rest of the field at the three-sixteenths pole and cruised to a 3½-length victory over champion Modern Games (IRE) to win the 35th running of the $600,000 Maker’s Mark Mile (G1) Friday afternoon at Keeneland.

Earlier on the program, Stonestreet Stables’ Love Reigns (IRE) won the fourth running of the $250,000 FanDuel Limestone (L) for 3-year-old fillies by a half-length over stablemate Lady Hollywood (GB).

In the Maker’s Mark Mile, Chez Pierre covered the mile on a firm turf course in a stakes-record 1:33.46 to give trainer Arnaud Delacour and jockey Flavien Prat their first victory in the race. The previous stakes record of 1:33.54 was established in 2004 by Perfect Soul (IRE).

Chez Pierre led the field of eight through an opening quarter-mile in :23.67 with Dr Zempf (GB) second and Modern Games racing in fourth while in the clear.

Midway on the run down the backstretch, Dr Zempf shot past Chez Pierre and took the field past the half-mile in :47.66. Dr Zempf maintained a daylight advantage on the far turn, where Prat re-engaged with Chez Pierre.

Chez Pierre drew even turning for home, quickly put away Dr Zempf and opened a huge cushion on the field. He never was threatened in the run to the finish with Modern Games rallying late to get second by a neck over Up to the Mark.

Chez Pierre is a 5-year-old gelded son of Mehmas out of the Orpen mare Hortensia. The victory was worth $298,375 and increased his earnings to $427,791 with a record of 7-6-0-0.

Chez Pierre rewarded his backers with payoffs of $20.84, $6.66 and $3.80. Modern Games, ridden by William Buick, returned $2.42 and $2.10 with Up to the Mark returning $3.40 to show under Irad Ortiz Jr.

It was another 1¼ lengths back to Cabo Spirit, who was followed in order by Speaking Scout, Dr Zempf, Emmanuel and In Love (BRZ)

Love Reigns keys Ward Exacta in FanDuel Limestone

In the FanDuel Limestone, Love Reigns overcame a tough trip in the stretch to run down stablemate Lady Hollywood in the final 20 yards to notch her second stakes victory.

Trained by Wesley Ward and ridden by Joel Rosario, Love Reigns covered the 5½ furlongs on a firm turf course in 1:02.45. It is the second victory in the race for both with Ward winning last year with Ruthin (GB) and Rosario riding Ginger Nut (IRE) to victory in 2019.

Accomplished Girl led the field through fractions of :21.49 and :44.50 as Love Reigns had a ground-saving trip while racing in midpack.

In the upper stretch, Love Reigns was bottled up behind horses and had to check. By midstretch, Rosario found a seam along the rail and dived to the inside only to swing out again to challenge Accomplished Girl.

Meanwhile, John Velazquez had a clear run on the outside on Lady Hollywood, who surged to the front at the eighth pole. Love Reigns altered course again back to the inside and finished full of run to grab the victory.

Love Reigns is an Irish-bred daughter of U S Navy Flag out of the Pivotal mare Humble and Proud. The victory was worth $114,700 and increased Love Reigns’ earnings to $242,065 with a record of 5-3-0-0.

Both Love Reigns and Lady Hollywood were making their 2023 debuts for Ward after closing 2022 by finishing eighth and fifth, respectively, in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G1) here in November.

Love Reigns returned $7.38, $4.26 and $3.48 as the favorite in the field of 11. Lady Hollywood returned $5.14 and $4.04 and finished a half-length in front of My Sweet Affair, who paid $5.82 to show under Irad Ortiz Jr.

It was another 1¼ lengths back to American Apple, who was followed in order by Sassy Nature, Just a Care (IRE), Accomplished Girl, Stone Silent, Camp Akeela, Twirled and Alluring Angel (GB).


Racing continues Saturday with an 11-race program that begins at 1 p.m. and features three stakes, which are headlined by the $600,000 Jenny Wiley (G1). The Jenny Wiley is the afternoon’s 10th race with a 5:48 p.m. post time.

Keeneland will offer a Pick 6 carryover of $93,612.78.