G1 winner In Love returns to Turfway for Dust Commander

Turfway Park stakes preview by Kevin Kerstein (Coady photo of In Love winning Turfway’s Prairie Bayou Stakes)

FLORENCE, Ky. (Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023) – Bonne Chance Farm and Stud R D I’s Grade I-winning 7-year-old In Love (BRZ) will return to Turfway Park and face nine rivals that entered Saturday’s 32nd running of the $125,000 Dust Commander Stakes.

          The 1 1/16-mile Dust Commander will go as Race 6 of 8 with a post time of 8:25 p.m. (all times Eastern) First post is 5:55 p.m.

          Campaigned by Paulo Lobo, In Love (BRZ) reached Grade I glory in the 2021 $750,000 Keeneland Turf Mile (GI). In his last start, In Love tested the Tapeta surface at Turfway for the first time and recorded a gutsy three-quarters of a length win in the $125,000 Prairie Bayou Stakes under Gerardo Corrales. Overall, In Love sports a solid record of 20-6-3-3 with purse earnings of $865,138.

          Corrales, who began Wednesday with a 24-23 win lead over Fernando De La Cruz in the rider standings, will be back in the saddle for the Dust Commander and break from post No. 9.

The Dust Commander field features six other stakes winners and among them is Rob Comestro and Jeff Ganje’s 2022 Dust Commander winner Beatbox. Trained by Cherie DeVaux, Beatbox was the 2 ¾-length victor of last year’s Dust Commander when he was in the Bill Morey barn. Now with DeVaux, Beatbox enters the Dust Commander following a 1 ¾-length win in an allowance event at the Florence oval. Jockey Rafael Hernandez will retain the mount from the rail.

Another top competitor in the Dust Commander is Skychai Racing and Sand Dollar Stable’s 2020 $500,000 American Turf (GII) winner Fancy Liquor. Trained by Mike Maker, Fancy Liquor also enters the Dust Commander following an allowance victory at Turfway. His win on Jan. 4 was the first since his half-length score in the American Turf. Orlando Mojica will have the call from post 5.

          Here is the full field for the Dust Commander in order of post positions (with jockey and trainer): Beatbox (Hernandez, DeVaux); Mejthaam (Abel Lezcano, Jimmy Corrigan); Lincoln City (Manny Esquivel, Stephen Lyster); Harlan Estate (Declan Cannon, Whit Beckman); Fancy Liquor (Mojica, Maker); Price Talk (De La Cruz, Brad Cox); Ocean Atlantique (Walter Rodriguez, Maker); Camp Hope (Chris Landeros, Kenny McPeek); In Love (BRZ) (Corrales, Lobo); Accredit (Luan Machado, Pavel Matejka). 

          The Dust Commander Stakes is named in honor of the 1970 Kentucky Derby winner. Dust Commander was ridden in the Derby by Mike Manganello, a mainstay at Turfway Park during his career.

          Fans can watch and wager on the Dust Commander and all the action from Turfway Park onwww.TwinSpires.com, the official wagering provider of Churchill Downs Incorporated.

          Turfway Park will begin another four-day racing week Wednesday-Saturday. Daily first post is 5:55 p.m. For dining reservations and more information about Turfway Park, visit www.turfwaypark.com.

Jennie Rees is a communications and advocacy specialist in the horse industry who spent 32 years covering horse racing for The (Louisville) Courier-Journal before taking a corporate buyout. In addition to handling communications for the Kentucky HBPA, Rees is Kentucky Downs’ publicity director, manages in-season racing publicity for Ellis Park and serves as a consultant to the National HBPA. Other projects include the Preakness Stakes, Indiana Grand’s Indiana Derby Week and work for various HBPA affiliates and horsemen’s associations.