Rodrigo Cunha's Gemo made good use of his good turn of foot to win Race 5 on Friday's program at Gulfstream Park West, prevailing by three-quarters of a length over Fort McHenry, a 2-year-old half-brother to two-time Horse of the Year California Chome.
Gemo ($7.20) opened a clear lead in the backstretch run of the mile maiden special weight race, withstood a three-wide bid by Fort McHenry on the far turn and held off the 7-5 favorite late under Jeffrey Sanchez.
The Todd Pletcher-trained Fort McHenry, a son of Tapit who sold for $1.1 million at the 2018 Keeneland September sale, was making his second career start and first around two turns. He finished fifth in a seven-furlong off-the-turf race at Saratoga in his debut Aug. 17.
“He came running. I think the horse in front kind of stopped and just kind of stayed even and we were able to gain some ground on him,” said jockey Edgard Zayas. “It looks like he's still a little green. I feel like he has more potential in him; we've just got to figure him out. The [way speed has been holding] didn't help him a lot, either, but there was a lot of speed at the beginning and I was hoping he'd kick on from there and he kind of evened out.”
Gemo, a homebred son of Gemologist, was making his third lifetime start after finishing third at Gulfstream going seven furlongs in his first start for trainer Rohan Crichton Aug. 10.
“He looks like he wants to go long. We waited until the 2-year-old races got longer and tried him at seven-eighths. He ran well, but he was looking all around and broke bad,” Crichton said. “I put the blinkers on him today and he was a lot more focused today. I think he's still learning about two turns.”
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