Girolamo earned his first career Grade 1 victory
in just his second start of the year, pulling clear through the stretch to take
the 71st running of Saturday’s $350,000 Vosburgh Invitational
at Belmont Park by 2 ½ lengths over Riley Tucker.
The 4-year-old A.P. Indy colt, sent off as the 2-1 favorite, broke
alertly, and after checking briefly moved up to race between Snapshot and Wall
Street Wonder as the latter led the field of nine through an opening
quarter-mile in 22.56. Poking his nose in front as the half went in 45.26, Girolamo
turned back a late challenge from Riley Tucker to emerge with a clear lead in
midstretch and edged clear to hit the wire in 1:09.41.
“Toward the end of the race he was in hand and just
cruising,” said winning jockey Alan Garcia. “In the end he showed
his class and won the race. It was nice to get back on him.”
Now 5-0-0 from nine starts for Godolphin Stable, Girolamo was fifth in
the Grade 1 Forego at Saratoga Race Course on September 4 in his only other
start of the year.
“He was left in training to win a Grade 1 and we really had this
race marked from the early summer,” said Rick Mettee, assistant to
Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor. “He was spot on from a fitness
standpoint today and when that horse [Riley Ticker] challenged him in
midstretch, he didn’t hang like he did in the Forego.”
Closing fastest of all to finish third, a half-length behind Riley
Tucker, was Wildcat Brief, who was followed in turn by Temecula Creek, Driven
by Success, Latigo
Shore, Golden Spikes,
Wall Street Wonder, and Snapshot.
Girolamo, who was 2-for-2 last fall at Belmont including a victory in the Grade 2
Jerome, won $180,000 for the victory to lift his earnings to $388,800. He
returned $6.20 for a $2 win bet.
Last in the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Classic over an artificial
surface, Girolamo may have earned a return trip to the Breeders’ Cup for
either the Sprint or the Dirt Mile at Churchill Downs on November 6 with the
“We have multiple horses for the Breeders’ Cup [Dirt] Mile,
so a lot depends on what Regal Ransom does tomorrow [in the Kelso],” said
Mettee. “He’s still a lightly raced horse for the most part and
there’s no reason he can’t come on and improve.”