2022 Breeders' Cup International Scouting Report: Chain of Love

November 2nd, 2022

Here is a sample from Kellie Reilly's in-depth International Scouting Report analyzing all the foreign shippers for the 2022 Breeders' Cup at Keeneland.

The Report, covering both Friday and Saturday, is part of Brisnet.com's Ultimate Breeders' Cup Handicapping Package - six great products including past performances, historical PPs and charts, Handicapper's Sheet, Profit Line, and Insider Picks and Power Plays. Get the whole package for just $25!

After Japan’s Marche Lorraine capitalized on a pace meltdown to shock last year’s Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1), compatriot Chain of Love will try to pull off a similar feat in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1). While Marche Lorraine had never raced outside Japan, and accordingly required a lot of form extrapolation, Chain of Love has run well abroad already. All of her dirt form has come versus males.

Chain of Love’s overall uninspiring record (3-for-22) doesn’t tell the story, since she’s only raced on dirt in her last six starts. Plying her trade on turf initially made sense for a daughter of Heart’s Cry, but her dam’s side sports plenty of dirt influences. She’s out of the Street Cry mare Fair Ellen, an American export who spent her entire Japanese career on dirt. Chain of Love’s third dam is multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire Versailles Treaty, twice second in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff. Versailles Treaty produced Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) winner George Vancouver (2012) and 2001 Remsen (G2) hero Saarland.

JOHNSON: Using Brisnet dam stats for pedigree handicapping

Chain of Love is a homebred for Koji Maeda’s North Hills Co., whose Trailblazer was fourth in the 2012 Breeders' Cup Turf (G1). Maeda’s had high-profile runners on the Triple Crown trail: American-based Sunday Break and, more recently, fan favorite Lani. Both placed third in the Belmont (G1), Sunday Break in 2002 and Lani in 2016.

Trained by Michihiro Ogasa, who developed Brave Smash before he became a Group 1 winner in Australia, Chain of Love was on the Japanese classic trail in 2020. A late-running second in the Fairy (G3) over a metric mile at Nakayama, she was unplaced as a gigantic longshot in the first two jewels of the Fillies’ Triple Crown behind sweeper Daring Tact. She was 11th in the Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas) (G1) on yielding turf but a respectable sixth in the Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks) (G1), zipping her final three furlongs in :33.4. Chain of Love later took a class drop into allowances, but toiled in vain on turf for the next year, with her best result being a fourth.

Last December, Chain of Love's career trajectory changed as soon as she tried dirt and shortened up to about six furlongs. Chain of Love promptly won a Nakayama allowance with a whirlwind charge from well back in a field of 16. Her final sectional was a field-best :35 (per umanity.jp) on a track labeled good. Over the same track and trip in January, she missed by a half-length and a neck with a fast finish on the inside.

JOHNSON: Exploring the effects of left-handed, right-handed, and straight racecourses

Chain of Love proved her international sprint class on Saudi Cup Day, churning on for third in the Riyadh Dirt Sprint (G3). Never near her speedy compatriot Dancing Prince, she nevertheless edged fellow Japanese shipper Copano Kicking, the defending champion, with Dubai veteran Switzerland back in sixth.

Advancing to the Golden Shaheen (G1) on Dubai World Cup night, Chain of Love was fourth but beaten only a couple of lengths by the rebounding Switzerland. She just missed third, edged by Dr. Schivel (last year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint [G1] near-misser), and defeated Drain the Clock and Wondrwherecraigis. Chain of Love returned home to finish a close third June 5 at Chukyo to Aurora Tesoro, a stakes winner next time out.

Seven furlongs worked the charm for Chain of Love's black-type breakthrough in the Sept. 10 Enif S., also at Chukyo, on a muddy track. Closing from the tail of the big field in :35, Chain of Love just got up in a blanket finish in 1:21.60. The proximity of Pingxiang in fourth isn’t an advertisement of the form; he’d been a tailed-off seventh in last year’s Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (G1), ahead only of compatriot Jasper Prince, who was coming off a repeat win in the Enif at that time.

MUCCIOLO: Breeders' Cup: Dirt race trends

Yet Chain of Love is arguably in a different category from them. Aside from her proven ability on the global stage, her deep-closing style gives her a better chance to factor than forward types trying to chase superior U.S. speed. Both of her dirt wins have come on off tracks, so any rain could help her cause.