Brook & Dan Zucker’s Pianist took control soon after the start and
played “catch me if you can” the rest of the way, as the Chad
Brown-trained filly went the distance in the $150,000 Gallorette
Handicap (G3) at Pimlico Race Course.
Photo: Jim McCue, Maryland Jockey Club
by Mike Smith, the daughter of More Than Ready pulled away to a 2 ¾-
length triumph over Hard Not to Like. Appealing Cat finished third. The
Brown-trained Samitar finished fourth as the even-money favorite.
Pianist, who paid $15.40 to win, ran the 1 1/16 miles over firm turf in 1:40.60 while beating seven other fillies and mares.
Pianist had previously won the Given Stakes on the turf at Belmont Park last year.
GALLORETTE HANDICAP QUOTES
Chad Brown (trainer, Pianist, winner)
– “We had two horses in the race and the plan was for Mike to go to the
lead. I thought the fractions were a little strong but I just left it
to the riders. I said, ‘You just judge the pace.’ I didn’t give them any
figures. I just left it to them. She looked great, although it looked
like Samitar wasn’t holding the track on the backside. Both horses were
training fine coming into the race, so they both deserved a shot.”
Mike Smith (jockey, Pianist, winner)
– “I planned to put her on the lead unless something happened at the
break like yesterday with Emollient (who stumbled out of the gate) in
the Black-Eyed Susan. She jumped away from the gate very well. Chad told
me before the race that we could win this if we did something a little
unusual. I guess a 46-second half was a little unusual. This is the
first time I’ve ridden for Chad, and I plan to ride another five years,
so I hope to do this again sometime.”
Michael Matz (trainer, Hard Not to Like, 2nd)
– “I was quite proud of her. She stumbled pretty bad. We told Johnny to
get close to the pace, but the other horse got away from her a little
John Velazquez (jockey, Hard Not to Like, 2nd)
– “Unfortunately, I stumbled out of there, as I wanted to be in there
closer to the front. We got up, recouped and she ran a great race.”