Island Of Love makes its debut in Sunday’s Shamrock Stakes

ARCADIA, Calif. — Undefeated in two starts in Italy, Ireland’s Island of Love will make her United States debut on Sunday in the $75,000 Lady of Shamrock Stakes at Santa Anita. For three-year-old fillies, the Lady of Shamrock drew a field of six to a mile on grass.

Formed by Phil D’Amato, love island won his first start on September 3 by going six furlongs on grass by seven lengths. At 3-1, she beat 10 rivals, including colts, and went on to be the 4-5 favorite against eight sophomore fillies in a minor stake on September 12. Raced at six furlongs on grass, Island of Love made short work of its competition, winning by 2½ lengths.

With its first recorded three-stadia breeze at the main track in Del Mar on Dec. 1, D’Amato sent Island of Love to the Santa Anita indoor practice track for a seven-practice set in preparation for its Sunday debut.

Owned by R Unicorn Stable, Island of Love obtains the services of leader Flavien Prat.

A $300,000 buy from Keeneland’s 1-year-old sale in September, the Jonathan Wong formed shoppingforpharoah employed cutting-edge tactics as he covered a turf mile here in the unranked Blue Norther Stakes on January 2 and so rates a great chance in what will be his second road test.

Daughter of American Pharoah, winner of the Triple Crown in 2015, Shoppingforpharoah is owned by Tommy Town Thoroughbreds, LLC and will be ridden for the second time in a row by Ricky Gonzalez.

While Flavien Prat chooses to ride Island of Love, John Velazquez will take over on the trained Ruben Alvarado Travel smart. Owned by Gary Barber, this Florida-raised Gormley girl rallied to the pace to take a maiden one-mile grass $50,000 per 1 ¼ length two starts here on Oct. 30.

Subsequently beaten 2 ¼ lengths in the Jimmy Durante Stakes grade III over a grass mile on Nov. 27 at Del Mar, Travel Smart, who was ranked early in the Durante, hopes to set a realistic pace in the Dame de Shamrock, which will be his fourth tenure.


Race 5 of 9 Approximate Start Time 2:30 PM PT

  1. Travel Smart–John Velazquez–120
  2. Shoppingforpharoah–Ricardo Gonzalez–120
  3. Lucky Girl–Joe Bravo–120
  4. Island of Love–Flavien Prat–120
  5. Fuente Ovejuna–Juan Hernandez–120
  6. Golden Dragon Queen – Umberto Rispoli – 120

The earliest tee time for a nine-race card on Sunday is 12:30 p.m. with admission gates opening at 10:30 a.m.

Santa Anita press release

Photo: Phil D’Amato (Benoit Photo)

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