Winter Quarter Farm's Cambodia, narrowly beaten in three straight stakes to open the year, became a stakes winner for the first time Saturday at historic Pimlico Race Course in the 66th running of the $150,000 Stella Artois Gallorette (G3) for fillies and mares 3 and older.
Jockey Florent Geroux guided Cambodia ($11.20) from the far outside Post 10 to stalk front-running 60-1 long shot Come to Mischief into the first turn and down the backstretch, going a quarter-mile in 24.63 seconds and the half in a leisurely 49.78. The 5-year-old War Front mare assumed the lead after straightening for home and edged clear to a two-length win in 1:44.35 for 1 1/16 miles over a good turf course.
On Leave, who was on hold in the early stages under Jose Ortiz, was second. Multiple graded stakes-placed Elysea's World, sent off as the even-money favorite, raced at the back of the pack into the far turn before making a belated bid on the outside to get up for third, a neck ahead of Queen Caroline.
Cambodia has now won three of six starts since joining the barn of trainer Tom Proctor, including a 1 1/16-mile allowance last fall at Laurel Park. She ran third in the Marie G. Krantz Memorial and Daisy Devine at Fair Grounds as well as Laurel's one-mile Dahlia April 22 – beaten a total of 3 ¼ lengths.
Winning Trainer Tom Proctor (Cambodia): ““From where she was at, I'd have been disappointed if she got beat. I had a perfect go, slow pace. It was nice to have it work out.”
Winning Jockey Florent Geroux (Cambodia): “She was very sharp from the gate. We in a great spot just off the horse on the lead. I kept her relaxed and turning for home she responded very well.”
Robbie Medina, assistant to trainer Shug McGaughey (On Leave, 2nd): “Everything worked out alright. She was sitting in a good spot and he had a lot of horse underneath him. The winner had a jump on them. They were going pretty slow he was going to try and go inside but he angle her out. Second best. First race since October so this is very encouraging.
Jockey Jose Ortiz (On Leave, 2nd): “The ground is a little soft, but not bad. It's good – not firm or soft. She had a perfect trip. She was on the inside saving all the ground. I think the winner had a better trip in the clear and I think that made all the difference.”
Trainer Chad Brown (Elysea's World, 3rd): “Just a bad trip: last, no pace. She came rolling late. But it's impossible to win from there when they go that slow. She would have had to be superman.”
Jockey Joel Rosario (Elysea's World, 3rd): “I think it was the slow pace and I wasn't where I wanted to be. I saved a little ground; as much as I could. It was a tough run and she tried, but with how the race was run, it didn't set up for her too much.”
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