Trainer Doug O’Neill utilized a one-mile turf race at Del Mar to ready Gomo for Friday’s opening day co-feature at Keeneland, the $400,000 Alcibiades S. (G1), and the move paid dividends as the bay miss recorded a 2 3/4-length victory.
Sent off the 5-1 third choice in the 10-strong field, Gomo stayed close up front throughout the muddy, rain-soaked contest and prevailed for owner Reddam Racing LLC. In the process, the Uncle Mo filly earned both experience over the sloppy track and a guaranteed berth to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1), which will take place at Keeneland on October 31.
Gomo also netted a spot on the early Kentucky Oaks leaderboard, as the Alcibiades awarded her 10 points toward a start in next spring’s Run for the Lillies under the Twin Spires.
Put Da Blame on Me sloshed her way through splits of :23.34, :49.43 and 1:14.10 in the Alcibiades, all the while pressed by Ma Can Do It on the outside and Gomo just behind to her inside. Jockey Mario Gutierrez steered Gomo off the rail and the duo found themselves running in tandem with Put Da Blame on Me and Ma Can Do It entering the lane.
Gomo began inching away in the stretch, posting a mile in 1:39.30 and easily completed 1 1/16 miles over the sloppy, sealed track in 1:45.55.
Dothraki Queen brought a perfect two-for-two mark into the Alcibiades and was the 3-1 second pick off a nice win in the Pocahontas S. (G2) at Churchill Downs three weeks ago. The bay lass got a face full of mud running in the rear early and found herself stuck behind a wall of horses on the backstretch.
Jockey Corey Lanerie took the Pure Prize filly back a little and angled over to rail on the final turn. They slipped through and came fast but couldn’t overtake Gomo. Ma Can Do was another length back in third while Put Da Blame on Me finished fourth.
Just Wicked, the 2-1 favorite, was a one-paced sixth.
Gomo photo courtesy of Keeneland/Coady Photography
Mario Gutierrez (winning rider of Gomo)
“We tried to save ground in the first turn and all the way to the second turn. Down the stretch it was time to go. We didn’t mind to go a little bit wide. She responded really well; she’s been training good. She’s been showing us she wants to go two turns and she proved it today.”
Doug O’Neill (winning trainer of Gomo)
“You’re always surprised to win a race like this and I’ve got to thank my brother Dennis, who’s pretty sharp at these sales. (She’s) an incredible filly and (she received) an incredible ride by Mario.
“It’s pretty important (to have a win over the track at Keeneland prior to the Breeders’ Cup). I don’t know if we’ll have this weather, but if we do, we’ll be even more confident.”
Corey Lanerie (rider of runner-up Dothraki Queen)
“I tried to let her break a little bit more today and get up close. I found myself up close but with a lot of traffic around me. Going into the second turn I got bounced around a little bit and she came out of the bridle for me a little bit and I thought at one point she wasn’t going to run her race. I got her out of the bumping and put her down on the rail and, man, she picked it up for me and came running. I would have liked to have seen a clear trip and give me that run from the quarter pole home and see how close it would have been.”
Kenny McPeek (trainer of Dothraki Queen)
“She ran a really big race. She didn’t have a very good trip. She got boxed in a big portion of the way and she ran farther than the winner on the Trakus. She’s a really good filly. You want to win, but she’ll be back for the next one. She’s so brave. She had a horse on each side and two in front of her with nowhere to go for three-eighths of a mile, stuck in that pocket. When she got out she ran like the good horse she is.”
Paco Lopez (rider of third-place finisher Ma Can Do It)
“My race was perfect. She’s a nice filly — she has no excuse.”
Robby Albarado (rider of fourth-place finisher Put Da Blame On Me)
“She ran a good race. She broke well and got to the front and we backed the pace up to a pedestrian pace. She tried really hard and gave it her all and got a little tired, but she’ll be all right.”
Dale Romans (trainer of Ma Can Do and Put Da Blame On Me)
“They both ran very well. We got a little excited around the turn that we might win with one. We will see how they come back and there’s no definite that we won’t show up back here at the end of the meet (for the Breeders’ Cup).”