January 21, 2022

Navratilova topples higher seeds in Valley View

Navratilova wins the Valley View Stakes (Photo by Coady Photography)

Navratilova won her second career stakes in Friday’s $150,000 Valley View S. (G3) at Keeneland in the same way that she won her first over the summer: in wire-to-wire fashion.

Sent from the start by Colby Hernandez, Navratilova was nursed through fractions of :23.82, :49:06, and 1:14.02 over the yielding turf while maintaining a one-length lead over Crazy Beautiful. Although the gap closed between Navratilova and her closest pursuers in mid-stretch, the longshot stretched her advantage again nearing the wire and won by a length.

A homebred racing for G. Watts Humphrey Jr. and trained by Rusty Arnold, Navratilova paid $53.80 after completing 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.57.

Crazy Beautiful re-rallied between rivals to gain the place by a neck from Adventuring, with 8-5 favorite Tobys Heart a nose behind in fourth. The order of finish was rounded out by Core Values, Breaker of Chains, Oliviaofthedesert, Saranya, Queenship, Arm Candy, and Princess Theorem.

Navratilova’s last visit to the winner’s circle had been following the Tepin S. at Churchill Downs on June 26, which she won by a half-length over Tobys Heart.

“Rusty told me to watch the Churchill replay,” Hernandez said. “He said if I could get her out there on the lead, nice and early (and) going easy, ‘she’ll finish up for you.’ He said they won’t pass her.”

This was Navratilova’s first win at Keeneland in four attempts. She finished third over the course in the 5 1/2-furlong Limestone Turf Sprint last April, and later finished third by a neck in the five-furlong Mamzelle S. at Churchill Downs before taking the Tepin. Her record now stands at 9-3-0-3, $241,465.

Bred in Kentucky, Navratilova is by Medaglia d’Oro and out of Centre Court, a daughter of Smart Strike who won six graded stakes for Humphrey and Arnold, including the Jenny Wiley (G1) at Keeneland.

Myrtlewood S.

Sweet Dani Girl broke her maiden as a 45-1 longshot last month at Churchill Downs, but on Friday came through as a 2-1 favorite in the $150,000 Myrtlewood S.

Running down the dueling pair of Kant Believe It and Verylittlecents in the final furlong, Sweet Dani Girl prevailed by three-quarters of a length in the six-furlong dash for two-year-old fillies. Guided by Martin Garcia, Sweet Dani Girl finished in 1:10.36 and paid $6. Kant Believe It edged Verylittlecents by a nose for the place.

Bred and owned by J & J Stables and Nicholas Vaccarezza, the Carlo Vaccarezza-trained filly has now bankrolled $125,560. The Florida-bred is by Jess’s Dream and out of My Sweet Dani Girl, by Scat Daddy.