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Fran’s Valentine, Following Layoff, Wins Princess Stakes by 3 Lengths

Fran’s Valentine, making her first start in nearly two months, raced to a three-length victory in the $80,900 Princess Stakes for 3-year-old fillies Saturday at Hollywood Park.

The winner was in fourth position in the field of seven until midway down the stretch, where jockey Chris McCarron called on the California-bred filly for a burst of speed. She quickly overhauled the pace-setting Reigning Countess and drew out at the finish. Charming Susan was third.

Fran’s Valentine, despite carrying the high weight of 122 pounds, raced the mile around one turn in 1:34 1/5. As the 4-5 favorite of the crowd of 28,500, she paid $3.80, $3 and $2.20. Reigning Countess returned $3.80 and $2.40, and Charming Susan paid $3.

Last fall, Fran’s Valentine was the hard-luck filly of the Breeders’ Cup competition when she finished first in the $1-million Juvenile, only to be disqualified for interference in the stretch. But the daughter of Saros, bred by owner Earl Scheib of Beverly Hills, came back at Santa Anita to take a pair of stakes before going to Kentucky and winning the Kentucky Oaks.

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Despite forfeiting first money in the Breeders’ Cup, she had career earnings of $529,139, to which she added $47,150 Saturday.

The Princess Stakes was the last major prep for the $150,000 Hollywood Oaks July 7.


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