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Love and Pride Rides Speed Bias in Zenyatta

Love and Pride and jockey John Velazquez winning the Grade 1, $600,000 Personal Ensign Invitational Handicap at Saratoga Race Course.

Love and Pride won the Zenyatta Stakes by 3 1/4 lengths for trainer Todd Pletcher, who shipped the filly in from New York to get familiar with Santa Anita before the Breeders' Cup.

Ridden by Martin Garcia, Love and Pride ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.09 and paid $10.20, $5.20 and $4.

“The instructions were to let her break and not fight her, just let her be happy," said winning rider Garcia. “That’s exactly how the race turned out. I let her break, sat, then when it was time to go she just finished the job. I’m very lucky to ride this beautiful horse and I will pray to see if I can stay with her.”

Joyful Victory, who shipped in from Kentucky for trainer Larry Jones, was second and Include Me Out was third. Include Me Out was already qualified for the Nov. 2 Ladies' Classic, while Love and Pride earned the automatic berth.

“She’s a filly I’ve never ridden before, but (trainer) Larry (Jones) made it clear she doesn’t really like to be down on the inside,” said runner-up rider Rosie Napravnik. “Unfortunately, we were stuck there for three-quarters of the race. But I eased my way out and the only chance I had was coming around the turn and she finished very well and she kept on very gamely. I think this is her preferred surface, based on her form. I’ve never ridden her. I never was on her, even in the morning.”

Ron Ellis said his filly, Include Me Out, was hurt by the speed bias. “You just can’t close on this track the way it is. Speed’s holding, and they didn’t go very fast. But it was good. We’ll do better next time. It’s just the way the track is now. Unless you’re on the lead, you can’t win.”

Jerry and Ann Moss, who own superstar mare Zenyatta, were on hand for the race, formerly known as the Lady's Secret. A bronze life-sized statue of Zenyatta was unveiled at Santa Anita earlier Saturday.    


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