‘Real Sense Of Pride’: Victim Of Love Rebounded From Colic Surgery To Win Vagrancy

Tommy Town Thoroughbreds’ Victim of Love edged clear to a 2 1/4-length score in Saturday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Vagrancy Handicap, a 6 1/2-furlong sprint for older fillies and mares at Belmont Park.

Trainer Todd Beattie said it was an emotional victory after nearly losing the mare to colic following her third-place effort last summer in the Grade 1 Ballerina at Saratoga.

“I actually was a tick choked up in the interview yesterday after the race,” said Beattie. “She puts such an effort out and when she came back she was breathing hard. She just gives it to you and so many horses don’t always give that effort, but she’s not that way. Although that was fairly easy for her, she put in a big effort.

“She coliced last year at Saratoga after she was third in the Grade 1,” continued Beattie. “I had to go to surgery with her at Rood and Riddle and we had to nurture her back. When you nurture one back and they get all the way back there to where they left off the year before, that gives you a real sense of pride.”

The 5-year-old Speightstown mare, piloted by Joel Rosario, successfully defended her title in the 71st running of the prestigious sprint by stalking the early speed of Sadie Lady before taking command at the stretch call.

“Joel gave her a hell of a ride. You couldn’t draw it up any better than that,” said Beattie. “She has tactical speed and he knew with the slow pace to go ahead and move a little earlier than you normally would. She put a good effort in.”

Victim of Love won last year’s renewal off a three-month layoff and entered Saturday’s title defense from a nine-week respite, garnering an 88 Beyer.

“She was fresh and the filly had really been doing good,” said Beattie. “She’s been on an upswing and the time away from the game freshened her up a little bit. I had hoped to have a prep, but a race at Maryland three weeks out didn’t go.”

A native of Antigo, Wisconsin, hometown of Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas and the late horseman Clyde Rice, Beattie said he prefers to live in a small town and train from his private facility at Penn National.

“We have 50 stalls, a couple Equicizers and seven paddocks,” said Beattie. “I grew up in northern Wisconsin in the same town as Wayne Lukas and Clyde Rice and we raced bush races in Wisconsin. As soon as I graduated and could get paid to do this, I came out here and went to work for Clyde.”

Beattie is arguably best known for campaigning the multiple graded stakes winner Fabulous Strike, who won five graded events for the conditioner on the NYRA circuit, including the 2007 Grade 1 Vosburgh.

The veteran conditioner said as much as he enjoys and respects winning big races in New York, he looks forward to heading home.

“When I cross that Hudson, I have a lot of respect for those guys there,” said Beattie. “You have to come with a runner. We make darn sure we’re coming with something that can run some.

“I’m 100 percent country boy,” added Beattie. “I don’t do real well in the city. I appreciate the fact that I ship in and then see it in the rearview mirror and I get to go home at night to my little farm in the mountains.”

Beattie said Victim of Love’s win was well received by the local racing community.

“Penn National is a real big draw in the countryside. Everyone follows her closely,” said Beattie. “My phone blew up with everyone calling and congratulating me. They all feel part of it.”

Beattie’s wife, Amanda, is a key member of the team and gallops many of their horses, including Victim of Love. He said he values his wife’s honest assessment of their stock.

“She’s a real accomplished rider and rides this filly a lot. Last year at Saratoga she did all the riding there and is a good road team person,” said Beattie. “My wife might say things that some people wouldn’t say. She’s an accomplished rider and it comes with a lot of wisdom. Every day you get up and work on the horses, you learn something new.

“We were both thinking she was going to lay a good one down,” he added. “We were concerned about the time off, but we felt she was going to lay it down. She’s doing really good this morning, too. She ate all of her feed and looks good. I’m really happy with her.”

The accomplished Beattie owns a career record of 1,739 career wins from 8,156 starts for purse earnings of more than $27 million, but he said he prefers to keep his operation small.

“I’m a horse lover and I like working around the horses,” said Beattie. “I had times where I had a lot of horses and really didn’t like it. I had 100 horses at one time and I didn’t like it at all. I ended up being a business manager rather than a horse trainer. I like to train horses. I ride every day myself and I like to work among the horses. That’s how I was raised.”

Boasting a record of 18-6-3-3 with purse earnings of $408,199, Victim of Love has demonstrated remarkable consistency in the female sprinter division. The well-bred 5-year-old is out of the graded-stakes winning Awesome Again mare Spacy Tracy and is a full-sister to graded stakes winner Benner Island and multiple stakes-winner High North.

“I’m sure she’ll be going into their broodmare band when the time comes. They’re looking for horses like her,” said Beattie.

Beattie, true to his horseman roots, said he is not quite ready to commit to a potential next start in the Grade 3, $300,000 Bed O’ Roses on June 4 during the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival.

“I’d rather have her tell me how she’s doing and then come up with a plan for her,” said Beattie. “They all go a little better if you’re really aiming for a spot rather than having the horse to tell you that you’d better pick a spot. We’ll wait for her to tell the coach to look for a spot.”

The post ‘Real Sense Of Pride’: Victim Of Love Rebounded From Colic Surgery To Win Vagrancy appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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