February 7, 2023

Love romps in BC WAYI Yorkshire Oaks en route to Arc

Love shown turning a classic double in the Oaks at Epsom (Epsom/Racenews)

Enable used the 2017 Yorkshire Oaks (G1) as a springboard to her first Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1) victory, and star 3-year-old filly Love aims to follow suit after romping in Thursday’s feature at York.

The odds-on favorite in the wake of her conquests in the 1000 Guineas (G1) and Oaks (G1) at Epsom, the Aidan O’Brien trainee traveled like the winner at every stage. Love stalked in second as Manuela de Vega led the way, then ranged up easily to take command down the stretch. One Voice had also advanced to make her move, but she was already being urged along while Love was just galloping for regular rider Ryan Moore.

Drawing five lengths clear from the staying-on Alpinista, Love flaunted her class in a final time of 2:31.31 for 1 1/2 miles. The course was rated good, although there was moisture. Moore described it as “a bit dead” and not really her preferred conditions. By comparison, the ensuing Galtres S. over the same distance was nearly three full seconds slower, the winner Gold Wand needing 2:34.27.

The Yorkshire Oaks serves as a “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1), but all roads at the moment lead to ParisLongchamp. Love is now heading the antepost market for the Oct. 4 Arc, where she’s expected to clash with two-time champion Enable and possibly Ghaiyyath, who continued his banner season in Wednesday’s Juddmonte International (G1). Any ideas about Keeneland will have to wait until after the Arc, and even then, Love would have her choice of Breeders’ Cup targets. The Turf (G1) has more appeal than the Filly & Mare Turf for one of her stature, so only time will tell if she’ll use her ticket from the Yorkshire Oaks.

O’Brien left the door ajar regarding plans while offering lofty praise of Love:

“I don’t think we might have ever had a better filly than her. When you’re that close to them, you don’t want to be dreaming, but I think she’s been extra special all the way through.

“If she gets back home well then the Arc would be the plan. If she runs again after the Arc, then it would be the Breeders’ Cup.”

One of her York rivals who might be interested in the Filly & Mare Turf is third-placer One Voice. Beaten only a neck by Fancy Blue in the July 30 Nassau (G1) at Glorious Goodwood, One Voice appeared on her way to another runner-up effort here until tiring late. Alpinista overtook her for second, and One Voice checked in a further two lengths back in her first try at 1 1/2 miles. A cutback to 1 3/16 miles at Keeneland would be right in her wheelhouse.

Manuela de Vega retreated to fourth, trailed by a John Gosden pair who ran below form. Ribblesdale (G2) winner Frankly Darling, a distant third to Love at Epsom, wound up fifth at York. Franconia, the 6-1 second choice after a sparkling victory in the Lyric Fillies’ Stakes on this course, was beaten a long way out and eased home.

Love has now won her three starts this term by a combined margin of 18 1/4 lengths. Coolmore’s homebred daughter of Galileo was also a leading juvenile with victories in the Moyglare Stud (G1) and Silver Flash (G3) as well as a third in the Fillies’ Mile (G1). Her overall mark stands at 10-6-1-1.

Out of the Pivotal mare Pikaboo, Love is a full sister to Group 3 scorers Peach Tree and Flattering and a half-sister to multiple Group 2 vixen Lucky Kristale (by Lucky Story).