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LEXINGTON, KY – With a 12/1 upset, In Love upset Saturday’s $750,000 Keeneland Turf Mile Stakes (G1) to give trainer Paulo Lobo and co-owners Bonne Chance Farm and Stud R D I their second straight victories in the race following Ivar in 2020.
The Keeneland Turf Mile is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event, awarding an automatic berth in the 2021 Breeders’ Cup Mile at Del Mar this November.
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With Alex Achard aboard for the third straight start, In Love broke from post 3 and settled off the pace as Brown Storm outhoofed Diamond Oops for the early lead, where he posted opening fractions of :23.37, :47.30, and 1:11.58.
Diamond Oops and a stalking Somelikeithotbrown made their bids at the top of the stretch and the latter took the lead with a furlong to go, but the field was swarming behind him.
Saving ground while rounding the far turn, Achard waited until a few steps after straightening for home before tipping In Love out and sending him past stablemate Ivar just inside the 1/8 pole.
Drawing away powerfully late, In Love crossed 1 1/2 lengths clear while completing the good turf mile in 1:34.84.
“This feels great,” Achard said after winning his first start in a Grade 1. “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.”
A stalking Tell Your Daddy bumped with Ivar in the upper stretch, then bumped him again when Somelikeithotbrown drifted out just as In Love took the lead, but he held second by a 1/2-length over Somelikeithotbrown.
Ivar and Space Traveller were a head and a neck further behind, respectively. Following the race, Ivar’s connections lodged an objection against Tell Your Daddy alleging interference in the stretch, but the objection was later dismissed.
Front Run the Fed, Pixelate, Diamond Oops, Argentello, Monarchs Glen, Brown Storm, and the 6/5 favorite Order of Australia completed the order of finish.
“We got a great post position,” jockey John Velazquez said of Order of Australia, who won the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) over this same course. “Going to the first turn, we had a great spot, but he didn’t show up. Sometimes, you get a good position and you ask them, but there’s nothing.”
In Love’s win was his third straight following an optional claiming event at Arlington Park and the TVG Stakes at Kentucky Downs last out, improving his overall record to 13-5-2-2 with $729,700 earned. The Brazilian-bred 5-year-old Agnes Gold gelding began his career in Argentina before transferring to Lobo in 2020, who’s saddled In Love to 4 of his 5 career wins.
“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,” Lobo said of In Love’s treak. “And running the 1-turn mile (in the TVG) – 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 giving ground helped him.”
In Love returned $26.60 to win, $15.40 to place, and $9.60 to show. Tell Your Daddy brought back $24.60 to place and $13.20 to show. Somelikeithotbrown paid $8.20 to show.
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