Hard Not To Love charged from last-to-first to win the G1 La Brea Stakes by two lengths at Santa Anita Dec. 28.
The three-year-old daughter of Hard Spun, who also earned her first Stakes win in the La Brea, improved her record to four victories and a third-place finish in five career starts.
Hard Not To Love raced comfortably in last through the early stages of the race as favored Bellafina set the pace. Mother Mother drew alongside to challenge Bellafina on the far turn, as jockey Mike Smith began to ask Hard Not To Love for more.
Bellafina was able to turn back the challenge of Mother Mother by the eighth pole, but Hard Not To Love was closing rapidly on the longtime leader while racing wide down the center of the course. Bellafina was unable to hold off her rival as Hard Not To Love went on to win rather easily.
Bred in Ontario by Anderson Farms, Hard Not To Love is out of the winning mare Loving Vindication. She is a half-sister to Canadian Horse of the Year Wonder Gadot (by Medaglia d’Oro), and hails from the same family as G1 winner Secret Spice (by Discreet Cat).
Hard Not To Love is the 78th Stakes winner for her sire Hard Spun. His top performers in 2019 include Spun to Run, winner of the G1 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile, Out For A Spin (G1 Central Bank Ashland Stakes), Gatting (G1 Makybe Diva Stakes), Lucullan (G2 Knickerbocker Stakes), Green Light Go (G2 Saratoga Special), A Thread Of Blue ($1,000,000 Saratoga Derby Invitational, G3 Palm Beach Stakes) and Hard Legacy (G3 Regret Stakes).
Hard Spun will stand the 2020 breeding season at Jonabell Farm in Kentucky for $40,000, stands and nurses.