Lobo ‘In Love’ with his longshot Grade 1 chances

June 10, 2022

ELMONT, N.Y.—Trainer Paulo Lobo has made a decent living out of running well in big races with high-odds hopes and this weekend his chances at the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival should not be taken lightly when he starts a pair of double-digits runners in Grade 1 company. 

In 2002, the third-generation Brazilian horseman took the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks with 20-1 Farda Amiga, an eventual champion. In 2004, his Pico Central won the Grade 2 San Carlos Handicap at Santa Anita at 43-1 right before winning three NYRA Grade 1s, including the Metropolitan Handicap. And this past November, he finished a gaining third in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Mile with 24-1 barn star Ivar

Also in the Mile was Bonne Chance Farm and Stud R D I’s In Love, a 12-1 winner of the Grade 1 Keeneland Turf Mile and—like Ivar—a Brazilian-bred son of Agnes Gold. The bay 6-year-old suffered from a traffic-riddled trip, only to get going too late down Del Mar’s short stretch and finish seventh under regular rider Alex Achard. 

In Love won the 36th Keeneland Turf Mile G1, October 9, 2021, with Alex Achard up. (Coady Photography) 

Assigned a morning line of 15-1 in the Grade 1, $750,000 Resorts World Casino Manhattan, In Love will step up in trip beyond nine furlongs for the first time since finishing fourth in the Group 1 Gran Premio Nacional over 12 ½ furlongs on dirt in November 2019. 

Since coming stateside, nine of his 10 runs have been on turf, including two stakes wins, with September’s $300,000 TVG at Kentucky Downs beginning to expose his ability. In Love prepped with an eighth-place finish in the Grade 1 Maker’s Mark Mile on April 15, beaten 2 ¾ lengths in a blanket finish, and will be piloted again by Achard from post 5 in Saturday’s 10-furlong test for older horses. 

“I think this horse deserves to be here,” Lobo said. “He had a very good last six months of last year and ran a terrific race in the Breeders’ Cup and had no luck in that race. As you know, I winter my horses in Kentucky, not Florida, so of course it’s hard to get them 100 percent fit to run in April at Keeneland, but he ran very good in his prep. If you look at that race, multiple horses came out and won graded stakes like Set Piece and Chad Brown’s horse [Masen]. 

“Besides that, all of his pedigree tells us he can go longer, and South Americans really do well going a mile and a half and a mile and a quarter,” he added. “He will handle any ground and the grass should be good for him. He could be closer stepping up in distance, but I hope not. I prefer him to close from behind, especially on the grass.”

Lobo sends out an even loftier longshot, OXO Equine’s Greyes Creek, who is 30-1 in the Grade 1, $400,000 Jaipur over six furlongs on turf which offer a “Win and You’re In” berth to the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint in November at Keeneland. 

The gray son of Pioneerof the Nile will add blinkers as he cuts back in trip from a seventh in a 1 1/16-mile allowance effort at Keeneland, beaten three lengths. 

Previously trained by Chad Brown, he will be making his third start for Lobo, having kicked off his tenure in last year’s Jaipur, finishing a troubled eighth. His lone run since then was at Keeneland.

“It’s a similar situation with In Love, he wintered in Kentucky with me and ran a huge race on his comeback,” Lobo explained. “He ran a huge number that day and got tired. We thought that he could be a little more off the pace and was already, for my taste, a little bit close. Turning for home he made the lead and just got tired. 

“Probably everyone is calling me crazy for running him in this race, but if you see the Jaipur last year, he had so much trouble turning for home at about three-sixteenths from the wire,” Lobo continued. “He should have finished second or third in that race and he has been training very well coming into this year. I think anywhere from six furlongs to a mile is good for him, even though he won at a mile and a sixteenth and has a very fast turn of foot.”

Tyler Gaffalione and Greyes Creek break from post 6 of 13. 

NYRA Press Office
Photo of Paolo Lobo with In Love after their Keeneland Dirt Mile win. (Coady Photography)

Lobo also provided an update on Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile winner Ivar, who had to scratch from the Old Forester Turf Classic on May 7 at Churchill Downs, and finished and fourth and third in the past two Breeders’ Cup Miles. Owned by the same partnership as In Love, the nearly black fan favorite is unraced since November.

“Ivar is very well. He had an abscess in his left front foot one day before the [Old Forester Turf Classic] and had to scratch. He is back in training and will be running at Churchill Downs on July 2 in the Wise Dan.” 

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