09/07/2014 11:37AM

Ivanhowe moves into Arc picture with Group 1 win in Germany

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Ivanhowe comfortably won the Group 1 Grosser Preis Von Baden on Sunday at Iffezheim Racecourse in Baden-Baden, Germany. 

Rallying from 10th in an 11-horse field, Ivanhowe collared pacesetting Sea the Moon with about a quarter-mile left in the 11/2-mile Grosser Preis Von Baden, and to the surprise of most, pushed past for a three-length victory.

Sea the Moon, the heavy favorite, came into the race unbeaten in four starts and was the ante-post favorite for the Prix de l’Arc d’Triomphe on the strength of his 11-length tour de force July 6 in the German Derby.

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The Grosser Preis Von Baden, one of Germany’s most important races, is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge Win and You’re In race linked to the BC Turf. Ivanhowe’s connections thus earned automatic entry into the race and travel expenses to Santa Anita, but Ivanhowe’s primary autumn objective is certain to be the Arc. Sea the Moon’s connections said after the race their horse also remained on course to run in the Arc.

Ivanhowe, a 4-year-old trained by Jean-Pierre Carvalho, scored what was easily the most important win of his career, but the performance did not come from thin air. Ivanhowe was favored to win the 2013 German Derby last July but finished eighth and did not run again until May. He won the Group 2 Gerling Preis at Cologne in his comeback run, but could only finish sixth as the favorite June 1 in the Group 2 Prix Chantilly.

That race, though, was paceless and muddled, and Ivanhowe’s connections said the colt pulled too hard to finish effectively. Sunday, he had the help of a pacemaking stablemate, Iniciar, who also had shown the way for Ivanhowe in the Gerling Preis.

Sea the Moon, with Cristian Demuro riding for the first time, got away well and took the lead within a furlong, but Iniciar prompted him most of the journey, as Filip Minarik held Ivanhowe near the rear. There Ivanhowe stayed until the field, racing left-handed, turned into the homestretch, all the runners cutting across the course to make for the stand’s side rail. It was there that Minarik made his move, bulling alongside his pacemaker and bidding to beat Sea the Moon to the rail. He did so, and when Ivanhowe came through along the fence to challenge, Sea the Moon had no real answer.

Sea the Moon stayed on solidly, beating Night Wish for third by two lengths, and his trainer, Markus Klug, had made clear going into Sunday’s race that Sea the Moon was not at his best, saying the 3-year-old was at about 90 percent and using the race as a prep for the Arc.

Winning time for the 12 furlongs was 2:36.30. The course was rated good but appeared to be on the softer rather than firmer side of good going.

Ivanhowe, by Soldier Hollow-Indigo Girl, is owned by Gestut Schlenderhan. He won for the third time in six starts.