FLORENCE, Ky., Dec. 26, 2011 – Lotta Lovin showed a lotta heart in the last half-furlong of the $50,000 Gowell Stakes, getting up in the final jumps under Victor Lebron to take the six-furlong race by half a length over St. Louis City. A. P. Diva, the 3-1 favorite, was another three-quarters of a length back in third after leading from the top of the stretch.

Both of Lotta Lovin’s previous wins had come wire-to-wire, but a shaky break put her in fourth early, albeit less than three lengths off the lead. “She broke a little outward and I had to get into her mouth a little bit to direct her,” said Lebron. “She has a light, soft mouth and she kind of threw her head in the first jump, so I was a little worried at the beginning. But then I placed her and she seemed comfortable with it, so I left her there, kind of cruising, trying to time it right. There were two in front and they were battling, so I thought, okay, if they come back just a little bit I’ll be right there on the money.”

One of the two in front early was St. Louis City, who tracked Best of Times as the latter laid down a quick :22.06 quarter. A. P. Diva moved up to take over second as Best of Times continued a hot :45.22 for the half-mile. As Best of Times faded on the turn, A. P. Diva took the lead along the rail, but she couldn’t hold it as Lotta Lovin drove by on the outside. St. Louis City came up between the two to get second, bumping A. P. Diva in the process. Final time was 1:12 flat.

Finishing fourth and following were Flashy Lassie, Dixie Jackpot, Southern Bling, Piskacha, Fiscal Fitness, Nava, Best of Times, Fortune Diva, and Dancninthelillies. Original Kitten did not draw in from the also-eligible list and was scratched.

Lotta Lovin was the bettors’ fourth choice at 9-2 and paid $11.80, $7.20 and $4.40.

Lotta Lovin is trained by Mike Maker and owned by William Butler, for whom she has earned $75,853. The Gowell is her third win in eight career starts and her first stakes win. She finished off the board in her remaining five starts. Lotta Lovin was bred in Pennsylvania by Horses of Course Inc. and is by Repent out of Passionate Terri, by Unzipped

Maker and Lebron also teamed up earlier in the meet to win the My Charmer Stakes with La Gran Bailadora.

Live racing continues Tuesday at Turfway as the track follows its holiday tradition of racing from the day after Christmas through New Year’s Day. First post daily except Saturday is 1:10 p.m. Racing begins at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, which features the New Year’s Eve Track Bash.