As a stallion prospect, Godolphin’s Girolamo has everything: He’s by a leading sire, hails from a strong family that traces back to La Troienne, and has a Grade 1 victory to his credit.
Well, almost everything.
“Now that he’s a Grade 1 winner by A.P. Indy, you gotta go one better,” said Rick Mettee, assistant to the colt’s trainer Saeed bin Suroor. “If he could knock out a Breeders’ Cup race, that would really make him attractive to the breeders.”
Girolamo will represent the Maktoum family’s Godolphin Racing in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint on November 6, with Vineyard Haven and Gayego to carry the torch for the Boys in Blue in the Dirt Mile.
Initially part of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Darley Stable, Girolamo began his career by breaking his maiden at Saratoga Race Course and finishing fourth in the Grade 2 Futurity and Grade 1 Champagne at Belmont. Subsequently transferred to Godolphin, the dark bay launched his sophomore campaign with dominant allowance victories at Saratoga and Belmont, then overcame a troubled start to win Belmont’s one-mile Grade 2 Jerome Handicap by 1 ¼ lengths.
“He went through his conditions pretty impressively last summer, and then he won the Jerome,” said Mettee. “We had a decision to make on going to the Breeders’ Cup on synthetic and at what distance to run him. They were putting in a synthetic track at Meydan, and we wanted to know if he’d handle it.”
After Girolamo struggled home last of 12 in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at 1 ¼ miles, Godolphin elected to give the colt a break and point him toward a 4-year-old campaign.
“He proved he wasn’t a synthetic horse and wasn’t a mile and a quarter horse,” said Mettee. “After that, the decision was made to keep him in training this year and try to win a Grade 1.”
Following a fifth in the Grade 1 Forego at Saratoga in his first start of 2010, Girolamo achieved that goal when he won the Vosburgh on October 2.
“We got a late start with him, and Saeed earmarked the Vosburgh as a winnable Grade 1,” said Mettee. “Everything worked out pretty well.”