Three weeks after finishing seventh in the Breeders’ Cup
Mile, Jeranimo rebounded with an authoritative victory in the $250,000 Citation
Handicap Saturday at Hollywood Park.
The 17-10 favorite against eight opponents in the third of
five Turf Festival races over the holiday weekend, Jeranimo was reserved off
the moderate pace set by Bob Black Jack, angled outside approaching the
stretch, then finished with a flourish under jockey Garrett Gomez.
Completing the 1 1/16 miles in 1:40.87, the Florida bred,
who carried top weight of 122 pounds, prevailed by 2 ¾ lengths for owner B.J.
Wright and trainer Mike Pender.
The win was the seventh in 24 starts for the 5-year-old son
of Congaree and the Jeblar mare Jera. He’s earned $810,400.
Jeranimo’s victory was his second in seven 2011 outings. All
four of his career stakes wins have come in Grade II events. Before the
Citation, Jeranimo had captured the Oak Tree Mile (Oct. 8 at Santa Anita), the San Gabriel (Dec. 27, 2010
at Santa Anita) and the Strub (Feb. 13, 2010 at Santa Anita).
Wide throughout in his first appearance in a graded stakes,
War Element, the 7-2 second choice, gained the place, finishing a head in front
of 11-1 shot Calimonco. John Johny Jak was a half-length back in fourth.
Favored for the first time since he was fourth in the Grade
III Inglewood Handicap April 24, Jeranimo paid $5.40, $3 and $2.80. War Element
returned $3.80 and $3.20 and Calimonco paid $5.40 to show.
Bob Black Jack, who faded to sixth in his second start after
a layoff of more than 20 months, had to be vanned off afterwards.
The 6-year-old California bred, who had never competed on
turf before Saturday, suffered suspensory and possibly sesamoid injuries to his
left front leg.
Gomez’s second collaboration with Jeramino – the first was a
second place finish behind Acclamation in the Grade I Eddie Read July 23 at Del
Mar – provided the rider a milestone Citation score. The rider also won with
Ashkal Way (2006) and Military (1998), enabling him to join five other jockeys
(Chris McCarron, Laffit Pincay, Jr., Bill Shoemaker, Gary Stevens and Patrick
Valenzuela) with three wins in a race first run in 1977.
“He relaxed real well and found himself in a nice little
spot,’’ said Gomez. “They weren’t going very fast and he was real comfortable
and traveling well.
“He settled in beautiful and it was just a matter of finding
somewhere to go. When I showed him some where to go he put it all together.’’