April 23, 2024

In Love sweeps foes off their feet in BC WAYI Keeneland Turf Mile

In Love wins the Keeneland Turf Mile (Photo by Coady Photography)

For the second straight year, Paulo Lobo sent out a Brazilian-bred son of Agnes Gold to upset Keeneland’s $750,000 “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) – for the same owners, Bonne Chance Farm and Stud R D I.

Last October, Ivar prevailed at 14.40-1 in the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1). In Saturday’s rebranded Keeneland Turf Mile (G1), stablemate In Love did the honors as a 12.30-1 shot and booked his ticket to Del Mar. Ivar, a creditable fourth in his title defense, is likewise Breeders’ Cup-bound.

One who did not follow 2020 precedent, however, was reigning Breeders’ Cup Mile shocker Order of Australia. Bet down to 6-5 favoritism in his return to Keeneland, the Aidan O’Brien pupil came up empty on the far turn and faded to last.

“Going to the first turn we had a great spot,” Hall of Famer John Velazquez said of Order of Australia, “but he didn’t show up. Sometimes you get a good position and you ask them, but there’s nothing.”

In Love was reserved in midpack on the inside by Alex Achard, who also rode him to victory in his last pair – a July 25 Arlington allowance and Sept. 8 listed stakes at Kentucky Downs. Up front, longshot Brown Storm carved out fractions of :23.37, :47.30, and 1:11.58 on the good course, tracked by Diamond Oops.

Somelikeithotbrown, who had been stalking from the far outside post 12, ranged up turning for home and asserted at the top of the lane. Tell Your Daddy shifted out in pursuit, scrimmaging with Ivar as they fanned into contention.

But In Love had steered into the clear and gathered momentum by midstretch. Striding out with authority, the gelding drove 1 1/2 lengths clear in 1:34.84.

Somelikeithotbrown drifted out under pressure, inconveniencing Tell Your Daddy who in turn came over on Ivar. Tell Your Daddy still managed to best Somelikeithotbrown by a half-length for runner-up honors.

Ivar was just a head behind Somelikeithotbrown in fourth, and his owners claimed foul against Tell Your Daddy for interference. The stewards ruled that the original result should stand.

Space Traveller churned his way late into fifth, a neck off Ivar. Next came Front Run the Fed, Pixelate, Diamond Oops, Argentello, Monarchs Glen, Brown Storm, and Order of Australia. Field Pass was withdrawn.

Bred by Fazenda Mondesir and co-owner Stud Rio Dois Irmaos, In Love raced in Argentina in 2019. Coincidentally, he was second on debut to Imperador, now better known as Lobo’s Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) hope after landing the “Win and You’re In” Kentucky Turf Cup (G2). In Love switched to dirt at Palermo and placed at the Group 2 level. Once joining Lobo for 2020, he shaped with promise when landing a Keeneland allowance second off the bench.

In Love took longer to reach winning form this term, but the addition of blinkers has galvanized him. The five-year-old sports a mark of 13-5-2-2, $729,700.

“I think the big key was we went to Arlington and tried an easier spot, and he won the race,” Lobo noted. “Then we put blinkers on him and he improved a lot, and running the one-turn mile – they are very unfamiliar in South America with that – and I think the horse is improving. You know, Kentucky Downs horses get very fit. And also he loves it here (at Keeneland). Last year he won an allowance very easy here, and I think the give in the ground helped him.”

Lobo made sure to put in a good word for Ivar, who had not raced since his sixth in the Old Forester Turf Classic (G1) on Kentucky Derby Day.

“Also I liked a lot Ivar. I think he was fighting a lot off the long layoff. I think maybe we are going to have three horses in the Breeders’ Cup (including Imperador).”

In Love’s victory serves as a eulogy for sire Agnes Gold, a Japanese export by Sunday Silence, who passed away recently. In Love is a half-brother to Brazilian Group 1 vixen Last Kiss. Their dam is the Group 2-winning Know Heights mare Last Bet, from the family of Brazilian champions Oriental Flower and L’Amico Steve.