In racing time, it’s light years away to the first Saturday in May,
2013, but Garrett Gomez hopes that Saturday’s inaugural FrontRunner
Stakes leads towards his first Kentucky Derby victory.
The 40-year-old jockey rides a promising bay colt named Know
More in the Frontrunner, a mile and 1/16 test for 2-year-olds and one of
five Grade I “Win and You’re In” Challenge Races to be decided at Santa
Anita on Saturday.
Owned by J. Paul Reddam and trained by Doug O’Neill, whose I’ll
Have Another stunned the racing world last year by winning the Kentucky
Derby and the Preakness Stakes after capturing the Santa Anita Derby,
Know More won the Grade II Best Pal Stakes in his first start, coming
from sixth at the half-mile pole in the 6 ½-furlong race at Del Mar on
Aug. 5 to win by a half-length.
Next out, Know More and Gomez rallied four wide in the Grade I
Del Mar Futurity before finishing second by a length and a quarter as
the 17-10 favorite.
“He’s a nice horse that’s willing to cooperate,” Gomez said of
the son of Lion Heart purchased for $210,000 at the Barretts sale in May
of this year. “You try to adjust in races and he’s willing to try to do
that, and I feel that makes him a better horse.
“The way he’s run his first two races, the two turns won’t
bother him a bit. He’ll relax early on no matter if he’s real close or
behind, depending on what kind of pace there is.
Hopefully he’s seasoned enough where two turns won’t be a big deal.”
On the distaff side Saturday, Gomez rides Beholder for Hall of
Fame trainer Richard Mandella in the first edition of the Chandelier
Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles. It was formerly run as
the Oak Leaf Stakes.
Owned by the Spendthrift Farm of B. Wayne Hughes, Beholder broke
her maiden in her second start, and then was barely nosed out by
undefeated odds-on favorite Executiveprivilege in the Grade I Del Mar
Debutante on Sept. 1.
A bay daughter of Henny Hughes, Beholder worked three furlongs on Santa
Anita’s main track Wednesday in 37.20.
“She’s really started to come around,” said Gomez, who has
ridden both the colt and the filly in each of their five combined races.
“Her last two races have been very good. I still think she actually won
the Debutante. Hopefully the two turns won’t affect her too much.”
Beholder’s Daily Racing Form trouble line for the Debutante
reads, “Hit gate start, inside.” Gomez elaborated. “She had the outside
(eight) post and when she broke the ground broke out slightly from
underneath her and kind of hit the underside of the gate, not so much
the side of it, but the bottom of it.
“She was down real low and when she stood up, she hit the gate,
but she still only got beat a zop, so hopefully she’ll take to the two
turns and find herself in the winner’s circle.”