The rain on Keeneland's fall meet opener did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of Gomo, who earned herself a Grade 1 victory and a spot in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies with a convincing victory in the Darley Aclibiades on Friday. Jockey Mario Gutierrez kept the California shipper just out of early traffic for most of the contest before switching lanes and swinging wide on the final turn. The pair put on a burst of speed to kick clear at the wire by 2 1/2 lengths. The race is the first graded stakes victory for the filly, who came in off a third in the Del Mar Juvenile Fillies Turf Stakes in September.
“We tried to save ground in the first turn and in the stretch it was time to go, so we didn't mind going a little bit wide,” said Gutierrez. “She's been showing us that she wants to go two turns, and she proved it today.”
Gomo runs in the colors of Reddam Racing LLC and was bred in Kentucky by John Liviakis. She is the daughter of Uncle Mo and Elusive Quality mare Gentle Audrey. Dennis O'Neill purchased the filly out of the OBS March sale from Eddie Woods for $75,000 earlier this year.
Dothraki Queen was second, followed by Ma Can Do It. The final time for the 1 1/16 miles over a sloppy track was 1:45 2/5.
Post-Race Quotes, courtesy of the Keeneland Press Office
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); it's pretty nice. 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).”
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