I Luv The Nitelife heads into Saturday’s American National three-year-old filly pace fresh off her stunning victory in the $500,000 Breeders Crown sophomore distaff pace on Oct. 19 at Pocono Downs. But will her next race be against fellow Breeders Crown winner Captaintreacherous?
In the Breeders Crown, the venerable daughter of Rocknroll Hanover trounced her competition soundly in 1:50 by nearly four lengths.
“She’s been at Odds On Acres since last Wednesday and she’s just jogged lightly all week,” said her trainer Chris Ryder. “She came out of her Breeders Crown win in really fine shape, and just seems to enjoy life.”
Harnessed by Ryder for owners Richard and Joanne Young of Florida, I Luv The Nitelife has been driven by Tim Tetrick in all of her pari-mutuel starts this season. This familiar scenario follows closely on the heels of 2010 champion Put On A Show -- who had these same connections and credentials.With her Breeders Crown victory, I Luv The Nitelife erased her stablemate’s combined record earnings from her freshman and sophomore season with her $1,907,867 bankroll. Put On A Show earned $1,893,475.
On Monday of this week, the Young’s cleverly challenged the connections of North America’s top male pacer, Captaintreacherous, to a match race on The Meadowlands’ opening night, on Nov. 23 at the East Rutherford, NJ one mile oval. All of the money from the race would go to charity, with the winning horse’s charity receiving 60 percent of the purse.
“It’s a great idea the Young’s have come up with, and it’s for charity,” Ryder said. “It’s a great opportunity for both of these outstanding three-year-olds, and a fantastic promotion for harness racing. It’s a win-win situation overall.”
I Luv The Nitelife had a 31-day layoff and a pair of qualifiers between her double-heat Jugette victory at the Delaware County Fairgrounds in Ohio on Sept.18 and her Breeders Crown victory, and now has had 21 days since that last triumph at Pocono Downs.
“She wasn’t eligible to anything at Lexington, and our main goal was to win the Jug and the Breeders Crown,” said Ryder.
I Luv The Nitelife posted back-to-back miles of 1:51 and 1:51.2 in the Jugette, setting a world record of 3:42.2 for a combined two heats.
“I wasn’t concerned about her racing the two heats; I was confident she could handle that,” Ryder noted.
If she wins on Saturday night, I Luv The Nitelife has a chance to become just the fourth three-year-old pacing filly in U.S. harness racing history to be honoured with a Horse of the Year trophy, joining Rainbow Blue (2004), Bunny Lake (2001) and Fan Hanover (1981). The top three contenders, according the weekly harness racing poll, are Bee A Magician, Captaintreacherous and I Luv The Nitelife.
A $60,000 yearling purchase by the Young’s at the 2011 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale, I Luv The Nitelife now has 12 consecutive victories to her credit this year, with one third place finish in 13 trips postward this season. Her lone loss came at The Meadowlands on June 1 in a $150,000 New Jersey Sire Stake. Since then, her career has been a dream-come-true for her connections.
“She’s a great horse, and great horses do great things,” said trainer Chris Ryder after her Breeders Crown victory. “Yes, there was a long time in between races, but we just couldn’t find any suitable ones for her, so we qualified her.”
This year I Luv The Nitelife also won the $216,000 Simcoe Stakes at Mohawk in 1:50, the $350,000 Valley Forge at Pocono in a career best 1:48.4, the $125,000 Miss New Jersey final (in 1:49) and elimination (in 1:50.3), the $184,250 Mistletoe Shalee (in 1:50), the $300,000 Lynch elimination (in 1:50.1) and final (in 1:50) at Pocono, and the $391,000 Fan Hanover elim (in 1:50.4) and final (in 1:49.1) in early June.
No slouch as a freshman, I Luv The Nitelife earned $689,530 from four wins, four seconds and one third in ten two-year-old starts, and was named Canada’s top freshman pacing filly, honoured with the prestigious O’Brien Award. She’s slated to start in the Nadia Lobell after her start in the American National. Ryder said the star distaff takes all the traveling and racing in stride.
“She sleeps a lot and is just kind of a plain-jane filly,” he stressed. “She’s never any trouble; in fact, you’d never know she was in the barn.”
I Luv The Nitelife is the second daughter out of the $67,482-winning Camluck mare Lisjune, an 11-race winner who took a mark of 1:50.4 at age four. Her granddam is the Abercrombie mare Lisheen p,3,1:52.3 ($518,405), who also produced Lisjune’s half-sister, the world champion Lis Mara (by Cambest) p,4,1:47.3 ($2,141,661); Lisagain (by Dragon Again) p, 4,1:49.1F ($635,218); Lis Deo (by The Panderosa) p,2,1:50.2 ($353,755); Mr Dennis (by Dragon Again) p,3,1:51.1 ($152,410); Odds On Santi (by Jate Lobell) p,4,1:54.2 ($56,049); and Lislea (by Cam Fella) p,Q1:52.3 ($28,849).