Jockey Joe Talamo got his Kentucky Derby Week activity off to a good start Wednesday afternoon as he drove Sugar Baby Love (GER) past Happiness Is in deep stretch to win the $46,406 Grinstead Gallop over the Matt Winn Turf Course at Churchill Downs by a half-length.
Talamo, who will ride morning-line favorite I Want Revenge in Kentucky Derby 135 on Saturday, kept Sugar Baby Love in a stalking position along the rail off early leaders Three Graces and Happiness Is. Talamo moved Sugar Baby Love off the rail at the head of the stretch and rallied three wide to collar the leaders at the eighth pole before drawing clear in the final 50 yards.
Owned by Team Valor International and Green Lantern Stables, Sugar Baby Love covered the mile and a sixteenth over a course rated as “good” in 1:43.96. Sugar Baby Love is a 5-year-old daughter of Second Empire (IRE) out of the Salse mare Salzgitter (GB).
Trained by Ralph Nicks, Sugar Baby Love returned mutuels of $8.60, $4.60 and $3. Happiness Is, ridden by Jesus Castanon, returned $7.80 and $5.60 and Lemonette rallied for third to finish another 2 ¼ lengths back under Miguel Mena to pay $5.20 to show in the field of eight fillies and mares.
The victory was the fourth in 13 career starts for Sugar Baby Love and worth $27,060 to increase her earnings to $153,074.