Much like last year in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, Loooch Racing Stables and Glenn Ellis’ War Story will once again be an outsider. Unlike last year, though, the son of Northern Afleet and half-brother to Fair Grounds Oaks winner and Kentucky Oaks runner-up Land Over Sea comes into the Dirt Mile off arguably the best race of his career when second in the Pennsylvania Derby Championship Sept. 24. Closing stoutly that day, despite an ordinary pace, the 4-year-old chestnut gelding came up a head short behind Cyrus Alexander for trainer Miguel Penaloza.
Loooch Racing has twice raced in the Breeders’ Cup in partnership, each time with Ria Antonia, Canadian champion 2-year-old filly of 2013 — the same year she was the adjudged winner of the Juvenile Fillies. One year later, she closed out her career with a respectable fourth in the Distaff.
Parx Racing-based, stakes-winning trainer Penaloza only had one prior start as a trainer before 2016, but has done well in his first full year, with 26 victories from 142 starts.