01/28/2012 6:05PM

Aqueduct: Love and Pride romps in Affectionately

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Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Love and Pride, with Cornelio Velasquez riding, wins the Affectionately.

Inheriting both the rail post and the role of favorite after the scratch of stablemate Katy Now, Love and Pride ($3.90) set a slow pace on a merry-go-round racetrack to wire the Affectionately Stakes easily over four pursuers at Aqueduct on Saturday.

Once morning-line choice Katy Now was scratched, Todd Pletcher's barn was represented by only Love and Pride. Her connections, and her many backers, never had an anxious moment.

Love and Pride out-sprinted Indian Burn in the run to the first turn - while Bahama Bound, Orbiston Parva, and Bahia Beach all broke tardily - and proceeded to lay down measured opening fractions of 24.92 and 49.41 seconds beneath Cornelio Velasquez.

After that, it seemed just a matter of what the final margin would be, and Love and Pride ran up the score through the stretch to report home by seven lengths, running 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.90 seconds as the sixth wire-to-wire winner from the day's first eight races.

"We had the idea of going to the lead, and obviously with the scratch of Katy Now she was the controlling speed," said assistant trainer Michael McCarthy. "It looks like she could be promising. It kind of depends on what mood she's in when she comes over here. She's not difficult, but soft fractions make a big difference for her."

Bahia Beach, the Charles Town invader who leapt at the break to come out slowest of all, outfinished Bahama Bound for the runner-up spot by 2 1/4 lengths.

Indian Burn was fourth. Orbiston Parva, the 2-1 second choice, finished last after attempting to rally wide from off the pace.