1992 Horse of the Year A.P. Indy: Destined for Greatness
After finishing fourth in last year's Grade 1 FanDuel Breeders' Cup Mile Presented by PDJF, trainer Paulo Lobo intends to double team the upcoming World Championships.
As much as Ivar is likely to make a return trip to the Mile, he'll have some company in the starting gate as Lobo picked up another Mile starter Oct. 9 when In Love charged to a 1 1/2-length victory over Tell Your Daddy in the $750,000 Grade 1 Keeneland Turf Mile Stakes at Keeneland to secure a free, "Win and You're In" spot in the Nov. 6 grade 1 turf stakes at Del Mar.
"He had been improving," Lobo said about In Love, "and I had been telling people, be careful of a confident horse."
Meanwhile, the horse who won last year's Mile at Keeneland, Order of Australia, finished 12th and last as the 6-5 favorite in his first United States race since the World Championships.
"We got a great post position. Going to the first turn we had a great spot, but he didn't show up," jockey John Velazquez said.
In Love certainly showed up in giving Lobo and the owners back-to-back wins in the Keeneland Turf Mile.
In notching his first graded stakes win, the Agnes Gold gelding owned by Bonne Chance Farm and Stud RDI was coming off a pair of victories. The first came in allowance optional claiming race at Arlington International Racecourse and was followed by a 2 1/4-length score in the $330,160 TVG Stakes at Kentucky Downs that had him poised for a breakthrough victory Saturday.
"I think the big key was we went to Arlington and tried an easier spot, and he won the race, and 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," Lobo said about the gelding who started his career in Argentina. "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 giving ground helped him."
Bred by Fazenda Mondesir and Stud Rio Dois Irmaos out of the Known Heights mare Last Bet, the 5-year-old gelding is a half-brother to the grade 1 winner Last Kiss (Elusive Quality) and full brother to the grade 2 placed filly Love Story. He is the fifth of seven foals and fourth winner from Last Bet, who has also has a yearling full brother to him.
In Love and jockey Alex Achard were seventh in the field of 12 after a half-mile in :47.30 as 59-1 shot Brown Storm set the pace. As the longshot faded leaving the quarter pole and a line of horses surged toward the lead, In Love swung into the six-path in the stretch and had clear sailing on the outside to move past Somelikeithotbrown leaving the eighth pole and complete the mile in 1:34.84 on good turf.
Sent off at 12-1 odds, In Love ($26.60) gave Achard his first grade 1 win.
"(Recording my first grade 1 win) feels great. Especially at Keeneland—I love Keeneland—and it couldn't be any better. He's getting older but he's getting better. He's like a good wine. Every race he shows up and he's even better every time," Achard said.
The win was the fifth in 13 starts for In Love and lifted his earnings to $729,700.
Flying P Stable's Tell Your Daddy, a son of Scat Daddy trained by Tom Morley, emerged from a wall of horses to take second by a half-length over Skychai Racing and Sand Dollar Stable's Somelikeithotbrown, a New York-bred son of Big Brown trained by Mike Maker.
Ivar, who was an aforementioned fourth in the Mile after winning last year's Keeneland Turf Mile for Lobo, was a head back in fourth after bumping with Tell Your Daddy in the stretch. It was his first race since the May 1 Grade 1 Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic Stakes and second since the Mile.
"Also, I liked a lot (Ivar's effort). 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," said Lobo, who, in addition to his two Mile candidates, trains Imperador who has a "Win and You're In" spot in the Longines Breeders' Cup Turf.
There was an inquiry involving Tell Your Daddy and the stretch run but the stewards saw no reason for a disqualification. -Bob Ehalt
Rattle N Roll Gives McPeek Third Career Claiborne Breeders' Futurity Win
Kenny McPeek fired only one of his bullets in Keeneland's $500,000 Grade 1 Claiborne Breeders' Futurity Oct. 9, but it was the only shot he needed.
Though he kept stakes-winning Tiz the Bomb in the barn to await the Grade 2 Oct. 10 Castle & Key Bourbon Stakes there, his presence on Saturday wasn't missed. McPeek's less accomplished but similarly talented colt, Lucky Seven Stables' Rattle N Roll, proved up to the Breeders' Futurity challenge, defeating Double Thunder by 4 1/4 lengths.
Two-turn experience proved essential Saturday. The top two finishers had it, and most of their rivals did not.
So when the favorite, Classic Causeway, blasted out of the gate with fast fractions of :22.81, :46.74 and 1:11.90 in the 1 1/16-mile dirt race, chased by Stellar Tap and Mr. Bouma, it played into their experience and stamina edge. The two horses settled in the rear half of the pack before swinging into action.
On the far turn, Rattle N Roll began picking off horses to come on even terms with Classic Causeway and Stellar Tap turning for home. Then he found yet more energy to pull away. Not even a strong-finishing Double Thunder could post a threat.
Classic Causeway weakened to third, beaten 4 3/4 lengths.
Ridden by Brian Hernandez Jr., Rattle N Roll covered 1 1/16 miles on the fast main track in 1:43.78 before a crowd of 21,333. Coming off a maiden victory at Churchill Downs last month in his third start, the progressive Connect colt paid $16.40 to win.
"All the credit really goes to the horse, being only his fourth start, to be able to sit back there and read the race and let it develop in front of him," Hernandez said. "When I got him outside, he showed what a good horse he is. He engulfed those horses pretty easily, and turning for home he switched leads. He knows his job and he just kind of went on about it."
The victory is the third in the race for McPeek, who also won in 1994 with Tejano Run and 2009 with Noble's Promise. He mentioned Rattle N Roll reminds him of Tejano Run in appearance.
With the Breeders' Futurity a "Win and You're In" qualifier for the Grade 1 TVG Breeders' Cup Juvenile Presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (Nov. 5 at Del Mar, Rattle N Roll earned a free berth in that race.
Whether that berth is accepted will be determined in the coming days and weeks, McPeek said.
"You know what, I'm gonna talk to the guys," he said of the ownership, headed by Michael Mackin. "I'm not set in stone that I want to go. I might wait for the (Grade 2) Kentucky Jockey Club," a $400,000 race at Churchill Downs Nov. 27.
He mentioned the configuration of Del Mar and how the track plays as considerations for his hard-charging 2-year-old. He is taking into account goals for the colt next spring, he said.
McPeek is 0-for-36 overall in the Breeders' Cup, though six of his horses have been the runner-up and another ten runners have been third, sometimes at large prices.
"It might be a season I might opt out. Like I said, I wanna talk to the Mackins before making any decision like that," he said.
Should they bypass the Juvenile, that would make winning a championship this year difficult. The Eclipse Award regularly goes to the Juvenile victor.
Whatever race is next, Rattle N Roll is now a valuable grade 1 winner at 2, assuring him a place at stud when his racing career is over. -Byron King
Blowout Goes Gate-to-Wire in First Lady
Blowout played a game of "catch me if you can" in the $400,000 Grade 1 First Lady Stakes Presented by UK HealthCare Oct. 9 on the Keeneland turf and none of her 11 rivals could.
With Flavien Prat riding, the 5-year-old Dansili mare got just enough of a favorable trip to hang on at the end and win by 1/2 length, something she had been unable to do in five of her six previous starts—all of them pacesetting efforts.
At the end of the one mile on the "good" Keeneland turf, Regal Glory was second, giving trainer Chad Brown and owner Peter Brant a 1-2 finish. Two highly regarded international raiders, Empress Josephine from the Irish Coolmore operation, and Godolphin's hope and race favorite Althiqa, were third and fourth.
Blowout had fallen into a familiar rut of making the going and weakening late. She was fourth in the Grade 1 Fourstardave Handicap at Saratoga Race Course in her last start after winning the Grade 2 Longines Churchill Distaff Turf Mile Stakes at Churchill Downs May 1.
Before that, she had suffered four consecutive agonizing losses, finishing second by a nose, two necks and less than a length, in a stretch going back to the Grade 2 Pin Oak Valley View Stakes over the same Keeneland turf during the 2020 fall meeting.
Prat said this time around the course, he was getting a better feeling.
"Anything can happen," Prat said. "But on the backside, she was running freely and she was happy. In the stretch, she was brave.
"She fought really hard down the lane because she lost the lead for a little bit. But she dug in and fought back and really made a great stretch run."
The victory earned Blowout a "Win and You're In" spot in the Grade 1 Maker's Mark Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf, which will be run Nov. 6 at Del Mar. That is 1 3/8 miles, likely against even tougher international rivals, which might be beyond Blowout's distance limits. Brown has campaigned her as a miler.
Asked whether Blowout might move along to the Breeders' Cup Mile, Prat said, "We'll see." -Bob Kieckhefer
Bell's the One Determined in Thoroughbred Club of America Victory
Veteran jockey Corey Lanerie knows good horses, having won a lot of stakes races, and following Bell's the One's most recent win, her 10th in a 21-race career, he said that she might be the best horse he's ever ridden.
Lanerie and the 5-year-old mare have teamed up for seven wins dating back to March 2019, and standing in the winner's circle after winning the $250,000 Grade 2 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes at Keeneland Oct. 9, the jockey said, "She gives everything she's got every time. She's got the fastest turn of foot of any horse I've ridden. At the five-sixteenths pole, if she gives me her kick, I know I'm going to catch them."
Both Lanerie and Bell's the One had to work for this one. Lagging five lengths behind the leader, last year's winner Inthemidstofbiz, up the backstretch of the six-furlong race over Keeneland's fast track, the bay mare did indeed produce that kick, racing wide to get to the front coming into the stretch. But despite an opening split of :21.57, the early vanguard didn't yield, and in addition, Bell's the One was challenged late by Club Car, holding that one off by a diminishing neck. Club Car got the best of third-placed Estilo Talentoso by a head.
The final time was 1:08.63. Bell's the One returned $4.20 on a $2 win ticket as the favorite.
Bell's the One was bred in Kentucky by Bret Jones and purchased by Lothenbach Stables for $155,000 from Brereton C. Jones' consignment in 2017 at The July Sale, Fasig-Tipton's select yearling sale in Lexington. By Majesticperfection, she is out of the Street Cry mare Street Mate, the dam of four winners from as many starters, including stakes-placed Running Mate (Creative Cause). Street Mate delivered a Collected filly this year and was bred to Not This Time for 2022.
Though the TCA is a "Win and You're In" for the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, trainer Neil Pessin is by no means certain that he and his superstar runner will make the trip west.
"It will still depend on how she comes out of it," said the trainer, who had last won a graded stakes race in 2006 before Bell's the One prevailed in the 2019 Grade 2 Lexus Raven Run Stakes at Keeneland. "The plane reservations are still tough, the way they've got it—I know it's the best they (Breeders' Cup) can do—but we'll try to make a go of it if she comes out of it well." -Teresa Genaro