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Luscious Lonna goes wire-to-wire in Miss America Stakes win

By Larry Stumes, San Francisco Chronicle

October 18, 2014 

Luscious Lonna got the trip she adores in Saturday’s $65,480 Miss America Stakes, and the result was her third wire-to-wire win in a stakes event for fillies and mares on the Golden Gate Fields turf. “Those were relatively soft fractions, and that was perfect,” trainer and co-owner Nick Sloan said. “She got a softer trip than it looked like she would, and she’s pretty game like that.” With Need You Now, Loveintheshadows, and Wink and Wish not showing their usual early speed, Luscious Lonna gained a clear lead soon after a bit of a slow start in the 11/16-mile race.

Central Heat offered only modest pressure from second place, so Luscious Lonna cruised through even fractions of 24.03 seconds, 48.28, and 1 minute, 12.59 seconds while maintaining a 1-length lead down the backstretch.

Luscious Lonna opened up 3 lengths on Central Heat in mid-stretch and withstood that foe’s late charge to win by three-quarters of a length.

“She broke a little slow so I had to ask her a little bit to get her going,” jockey Pedro Terrero said. “I looked in, and when I saw that she was clear, I went for the rail. When she got in front by herself, I took a little hold and she relaxed. At the quarter pole it was time to go and I asked her. She really responded and finished strong.”

Dismissed at odds of 9.9-to-1 in the field of 11 despite victories in the Golden Poppy Stakes the past two years, Luscious Lonna finished in 1:43.93 for her ninth win in 21 career starts. She earned $39,750 to push her total to $271,515 — a nice sum for a horse that Sloan claimed out of her second start March 10, 2011.

“She’s been a really good horse, obviously,” Sloan said. “She wants to go, and if you tell her to go, she’ll like you very much.”

She never saw the lead in three losses between her victory in the 2014 Golden Poppy Stakes on May 10 and the Miss America Stakes.

“I think when the jockey gets tentative with her, that happens,” Sloan said.

Central Heat improved dramatically on her seventh-place performance in the 2013 Golden Poppy Stakes as she finished 4½ lengths ahead of third-place Loveintheshadows.

“My horse gave me a huge run, and I thought I was going to run her (Luscious Lonna) down, but she just kept going,” said Kyle Frey, who rode Central Heat for trainer and co-owner Bill Delia.