D’Amato hones diverse profile in Macadamia’s Gamely win

D’Amato hones diverse profile in Macadamia’s Gamely win
Photo: Santa Anita / Benoit Photo

Leading trainer Phil D’Amato’s international hit parade of stars on the turf continued on Memorial Day at Santa Anita, where his Brazil-bred Macadamia rated kindly in the early going and powered to an impressive one-length win over heavily favored Queen Goddess in Santa Anita’s Grade 1, $400,000 Gamely Stakes.

Ridden by Tiago Pereira, 5-year-old Macadamia got 1 1/8 miles on turf in 1:48.01. Next to last in a field of seven fillies and mares around the first turn, Macadamia slowly worked her way into contention heading to the far turn. She had two horses beaten and was about three lengths off pacesetter School Dance three furlongs from the money.

With Queen Goddess taking the lead a quarter-mile out, Pereira swung four deep, collared the favorite under confident handling leaving the furlong pole and drew clear to win as best.

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“It’s a great feeling,” said D’Amato, who does most of his added money damage with Ireland breds. “She is a nice filly. I have to give Tiago a lot of credit for just getting on her every week, just breezing her and developing her. She was a quirky kind of backwards filly when we got her.

“She just needed to acclimate to North America. She’s taken he time and now she is a Grade I winner. ... (Tiago) has a great attitude in the morning, and I think it translates to the horses,” said D’Amato, who collected his meet-leading fifth stakes win and 13th overall victory.

A winner of the Wilshire (G3) going a mile on turf April 30, Macadamia was off at 6-1 and paid $14.40, $6.40 and $3.40.

“Last time my horse was really aggressive and a little green,” said Pereira, who got his second win of the day, giving him 15 for the meet, putting him third in the jockey standings, eight behind Juan Hernandez.  “I’ve been working her and getting her to relax more, and today she was really relaxed and on her game. I saw everyone in front of us, and I was going to follow (the favorite) until the three-eighths pole. She’s a really good filly. When it was time to go, she responded very well.”

Owned by R Unicorn Stable, Macadamia, who is by the Sunday Silence stallion Hat Trick, collected her second stakes win and her fifth victory from 13 overall starts. With the winner’s share of $240,000, she increased her earnings to $444,413.

Ridden by Hector Berrios, Irish-bred Quattroelle rallied from last to defeat Queen Goddess by a nose for second and returned $6.60 and $3.40.

Off at 4-5 with Luis Saez, Queen Goddess had no apparent excuses, and she finished 1 3/4 lengths in front of Irish-bred Viareggio while returning $2.20 to show.

Fractions in the Gamely were 24.06, 48.08, 1:11.87 and 1:36.17.

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