Garrett Gomez knows Chief Havoc will have to step up his game if he’s to win Saturday’s Grade I, Win and You’re In Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita, the final major West Coast prep for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic here Nov. 2.
Gomez rode the 3-year-old Giant’s Causeway colt to an eighth-place finish in the grassy Del Mar Derby after prompting the pace. He was aboard the Peter Miller-trained chestnut owned by Paul Makin of Queensland, Australia, when he broke his maiden by 7 ¼ lengths on Santa Anita’s main track last April.
“He just didn’t run on the grass,” Gomez said of the Del Mar Derby effort. “He travels well and he did well when I breezed him on it, but for some reason, he just didn’t quicken in the Del Mar Derby.”
Gomez will have to rely on his experience and his homework in his other stakes mounts Saturday, Colonel Joan in the Chandelier Stakes, Lady of Shamrock in the Rodeo Drive Stakes and Roundupthelute in the FrontRunner Stakes, each a Grade I, “Win and You’re” In prep for the Breeders’ Cup World Championships.
It will be the first ride competitively for Gomez on each horse.
“I look at the (Racing) Form, and if the trainer has something to tell me about the horse, he’ll tell me,” Gomez said. “But riding any horse, whether we’ve been on it before or not, is what we get paid for. That’s what we do. It’s nothing any different from what I would normally do.”
The field for the Awesome Again, race 10 on an 11-race card that starts at 1 p.m.: Liaison, Rafael Bejarano, 6-1; Golden Ticket, Joe Talamo, 5-1; Soi Phet, Irving Orozco, 20-1; Jeranimo, Corey Nakatani, 12-1; You Know I Know, Julien Leparoux, 8-1; Take Control, Rosie Napravnik, 5-1; Paynter, Martin Garcia, 5-2; Chief Havoc, Garrett Gomez, 20-1; Summer Hit, Edwin Maldonado, 8-1; and Mucho Macho Man, Gary Stevens, 3-1.