The honeymoon continues



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Today’s Thoroughbred Times

by Mike Curry

La Luna de Miel (Ger) has excelled since she was transferred by owner Rashit Shaykhutdinov from Germany to trainer Graham Motion’s barn in the U.S.

The four-year-old Monsun filly won for the second time in as many starts in the U.S. when she surged clear in the stretch for a one-length win on Sunday in the $150,000 Orchid Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park. La Luna de Miel made her stakes debut a winning one by covering 1 1/2 miles in 2:25.76 on firm turf under John Velazquez.

“She’s bred for the distance with that sire [Monsun],” Motion said. “She came to us at Palm Meadows [Training Center] in November. David [Rock], my assistant deserves credit for how she’s done here. He’s had her here all winter. One reason she was sent over is that there are so many more black-type opportunities for fillies and mares over here.”

La Luna de Miel won one of two starts in Germany for previous trainer Andreas Wohler, and after a clear win in a 1 7/16-mile allowance race in her U.S. debut, Motion tested her class in the Orchid and she rewarded him with a victory.

La Luna de Miel stalked a solid pace from fourth then fifth as Queen Martha led the way through six furlongs in 1:12.97 and a mile in 1:37.97. Giants Play made the first move and opened a clear lead in early stretch under Joe Bravo, but she could not match strides with La Luna de Miel in the final sixteenth of a mile.

“We were hoping there would be some speed in the race and that’s the way it developed,” Motion said. “John [Velazquez] is riding so well and was able to get her covered up and then come on. The [Grey Goose] Bewitch [Stakes (G3)] at Keeneland [Race Course on April 28] would be a logical spot for her next.”

Endless Expanse (Ire) closed from sixth to edge Giants Play by a neck for second as trainer Christophe Clement sent out the second-, third- and fourth-place finishers. Giants Play held off stablemate Tarrip by a nose for third.

Bred in Germany by Stiftung Gestut Fahrhof, La Lune de Miel is out of the stakes-placed Hernando (GB) mare La Hermana. She is from the family of German Horse of the Year and leading sire Lomitas (GB).{jcomments on}

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