Best Beyers: In Love and Rockemperor

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Horse Racing In Love Keeneland
In Love (Alex Achard) wins Keeneland Turf Mile. Photo: Keeneland Photo/Coady

103 In Love

Keeneland (Oct 9): Keeneland Turf Mile G1 $750,000, 1m, turf 3yo+
Trainer: Paulo Lobo
Jockey: Alex Achard
Owner: Bonne Chance Farm and Stud RDI
Pedigree: 5 bg Agnes Gold – Last Bet (Know Heights)
Time: 1m34.84s

It was a case of deja vu all over again at Keeneland when trainer Paulo Lobo claimed the Turf Mile with In Love – 12 months after winning the same event for the same owners with Ivar.

With Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Order Of Australia flopping as favourite, 12-1 shot In Love charged down the stretch to claim a length-and-a-half victory over Tell Your Daddy.

The winner is a five-year-old who began his career in South America before moving north to join Brazilian trainer Lobo, who has made his name with similar types, among them star sprinter Pico Central, a G1 winner in Brazil before a string of major wins in New York in 2004.

Likewise, Ivar was a multiple G1 winner in Argentina before joining Lobo and landing the then-Shadwell-sponsored Turf Mile 12 months ago at 14-1. 

He was fourth this time after a layoff as In Love did the trick under Alex Achard, enjoying his first G1 win after scoring on the same horse in lesser grade at Arlington and Kentucky Downs.

“He’s getting older but he’s getting better,” said the jockey. “He’s like a good wine. Every race he shows up and he’s even better every time.”

Both Lobo milers will head to the Breeders’ Cup alongside stablemate Imperador, who has a ‘Win and You’re In’ spot in the Turf after winning the G2 Calumet Turf Cup.

French jockey Alex Achard finds his match in Breeders’ Cup hope In Love

103 Rockemperor

Belmont Park (Oct 9): Joe Hirsch Turf Classic G1 $500,000, 1m4f, turf 3yo+
Trainer: Chad Brown
Jockey: Javier Castellano
Owner: Madaket Stables, Michael Dubb et al
Pedigree: 5 bh Holy Roman Emperor – Motivation (Muhtathir)
Time: 2m25.61s

Chad Brown saddled a one-two in the Turf Classic, with Rockemperor (blinkers off) sweeping past his rivals and drawing away to score from staying-on stablemate Serve The King.

Though both horses are now in line for the Breeders’ Cup Turf, it is fair to say the winner hasn’t looked a world beater since moving to the States from France, where he was sixth in Sottsass’s Prix du Jockey Club in 2019.

Indeed, ten previous efforts in graded company for Brown had resulted in zero wins before this two-length verdict at near 16-1 odds. Admittedly, Rockemperor had been beaten only a neck away in the G1 Manhattan in July 2020 among seven stakes placings, though his only US win came when dropped down to optional claiming level in June.

“I’m so proud of the horse,” said Brown. “He’s been bridesmaid so many times and had a brutal defeat to Instilled Regard in the Manhattan last year. He has moved to the top of the list of the most deserving horses in our barn to win a Grade 1. He finally got it done.”

As for Brown, he got it done again an hour later with a one-two in the G1 First Lady at Keeneland thanks to Blowout and Regal Glory.

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