By: Chuck Dybdal
Favored Lady Valeur ($4.20) maintained her perfect Northern California record as she got first run into the lane and won a three-way photo in the $59,875 Luther Burbank Handicap on Saturday at the Sonoma County Fair in Santa Rosa.
Lady Valeur, winner of the Miss America and Golden Poppy in her first two Northern California starts, sat well back in the field of 10 fillies and mares in the 1 1/16-mile turf race.
Jockey Ricardo Gonzalez, who had guided her to her previous two Northern California victories, began to move her up while four wide on the second turn. She was still fifth at the quarter pole, as defending winner Elegant Bel set the pace as she had in last year’s race.
But Lady Valeur had the momentum and moved past Miss Boom Boom, Mon Petite and Brookys Star before zipping past Elegant Bel after turning for home.
She seemed in command, but Mon Petite, a 32-1 shot who got a good stalking trip, was finishing strong, as was Central Heat, the 2015 winner who sat behind Lady Valeur early and was chasing her wide down the stretch.
The three hit the wire together, with Lady Valeur a nose in front of Mon Petite who held off Central Heat by another nose. Blushing Bug finished fourth another length back. Winning time was 1:47.09.
Lady Valeur and Mon Petite also ran 1-2 in the Miss America over the Golden Gate Fields turf course last Dec. 10. The margin that day was 1 1/4 lengths.
A 4-year-old Irish-bred daughter of Multiplex, Lady Valeur earned $33,650 for her fifth win in 17 starts. Owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and trained by Patrick Gallagher, she now has career earnings of $290,273.