When the $250,000 Vanity Handicap (gr. I) fell apart in the homestretch, 18-1 shot Love Theway Youare, rallying from last under Garrett Gomez, was there to take full advantage at BetFair Hollywood Park June 16 (VIDEO).
Myung Kwon Cho's 4-year-old daughter of Arch ran down 3-5 choice Include Me Out in deep stretch to snap her 11-race losing streak by a surprising 2 1/2 lengths. Love Theway Youare, who dropped jockey Alonso Quinonez in her most recent race -- the Marjorie L. Everett Handicap (gr. II) May 19 -- posted her first stakes victory in a race for fillies and mares won three consecutive times by Zenyatta from 2008-10.
Cho also trains Love Theway Youare, who completed the 1 1/18-mile distance in 1:51.10 over Hollywood's Cushion Track. Include Me Out was a clear second in pursuit of her fourth consecutive graded stakes win. British-bred Zafeen's Pearl finished third in her United States debut.
Love Theway Youare should not have been a complete stunner. Though she came into the race with a long losing streak, the dark bay/brown filly had been running consistently against grade I and grade II company. And she was second to Include Me Out in the four-horse Santa Margarita Invitational Stakes (gr. I) on a sloppy track at Santa Anita Park March 17.
"(Cho) couldn't be here today because he's at his son Raxon's high school graduation," said assistant trainer Maria Ayala. "The doctor checked (Love Theway Youare) out last time (after she bobbled and lost Quinonez in the Everett) and he said there was no problem. She's been training really well."
Love Theway Youare posted her first win since taking an allowance optional claiming race at Hollywood Park on April 22, 2011.
The winner, bred in Kentucky by Christopher Dragone, is out of the Tabasco Cat mare Diversa.
The race seemed set up for Include Me Out after Ellafitz and Zazu, the main contenders according to the morning line, were scratched by their trainers, Bob Baffert and John Sadler, respectively.
Those looking to upset Include Me Out, who was coming off a convincing victory in the Everett, gravitated to Mercedes Stable's Rock and Glory at 5-2 odds. The daughter of Rock Hard Ten, making her stakes debut, had won her two prior races by a combined 19 1/2 lengths and seemed a serious threat to take the field all the way.
But Rock and Glory, leaving from the rail for Martin Garcia, was under pressure from the start from Caelis on her outside as Atlantic Swing and Include Me Out stalked. Love Theway Youare tailed off early for Gomez and raced at the back of the pack behind Zafeen's Pearl, guided by Chantal Sutherland.
Rock and Glory set a quick contested pace of :23.10 and :46.54 for the first half-mile but was weakening as she led the field into the far turn. The British-bred Caelis took over from Atlantic Swing while completing six furlongs in 1:11.10.
Include Me Out, sitting in perfect position behind the leaders for Joe Talamo, went for for an early assault. Include Me Out circled the leaders to take the advantage at the quarter pole and opened a commanding three-length lead in the drive. But approaching mid-stretch, she began to weaken. When Love Theway You are, picking off the field impressively through the lane, drew alongside, the favorite offered little resistance as the winner surged for the wire.
"When we first came off the bend, she switched leads and dropped in front of the other horses," Gomez said. "I lost (Include Me Out) because she quickened and I didn't know if I could get to her. Then as I got by a couple of those other horses, I could see that horse starting to come back a little bit and I said, ‘Well, I think I have her now.’ This filly just keeps staying and she did so again today."
Jay Em Ess Stable's Include Me Out, losing for the first time in four starts this year, finished 6 3/4 lengths in front of Zafeen's Pearl, who had won four of 17 races in England previously while earning $17,870.
"I thought I was gone," Talamo said of Include Me Out. "She has a kind of tendency to pull herself up. You know, when I passed (Caelis and Atlantic Swing), I really thought the race was over. We've always beat (Love Theway You are) so far, so many times. In hindsight, I wish I would have waited a little longer. Every time I've ridden her I've always tried to steal the race at the quarter pole. That's a brutal way to get beat in a grade I."
Completing the order was Caelis, Atlantic Swing, and Rock and Glory.
Love Theway Youare picked up her third lifetime win in 19 starts while boosting her earnings to $362,990.
The winner carried 115 pounds and paid $39, $6.20, and $4.20 as the second-longest shot in the six-horse field. Include Me Out, who shouldered top weight of 122 pounds, returned $2.40 and $2.10. The exacta was worth $97.60. Zafeen's Pearl paid $4 to show.