Beaten just a half-length in the Grade 1 Clark Handicap in his most recent start, Good Samaritan returned to the races a winner in Saturday's Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap. Off as second choice at 6-5, the 4-year-old son of Harlan's Holiday rallied from last in the five-horse field to win by about two lengths under Joel Rosario. Trained by Bill Mott for WinStar, China Horse Club, SF Racing and Head of Plains Partners, Good Samaritan completed nine furlongs over the fast Fair Grounds course in 1:49.87.
“He's a pure racehorse,” Riley Mott said. “He can run on dirt, turf, multiple distances. We really have an array of options but we'd love to get a Grade 1 on the dirt with him; that's the primary goal.”
Post-time favorite The Player was on the lead until mid-way through the far turn, but he appeared to go wrong and was pulled up by jockey Calvin Borel.
“He broke both sesamoids in his right front leg,” trainer William “Buff” Bradley said after the races. “He's at the LSU clinic and is comfortable. He is going to have surgery to fuse the ankle on Monday. You worry about complications, but I talked to Carl (Hurst, co-owner) and we are going to do everything we can for him within reason.”
A winner in his last start from gate-to-wire, The Player broke well and went straight for the lead along the rail. He was pressed early by Han Sense, but established a clear one-length lead around the clubhouse turn to mark a quarter in :23.88. Entering the backstretch, The Player had a 1 1/2-length advantage over the duo of Han Sense and Scuba. Good Samaritan was last of the five.
Hollywood Handsome made a big middle move to prompt the pace after the half in :48.18, sending both Han Sense and Scuba scrambling up to join The Player as a three-wide trio. Hollywood Handsome maintained his position in fourth, and Good Samaritan was still last of the bunch heading into the far turn.
Nearing the head of the lane, The Player appeared to take a bad step and was pulled up by Calvin Borel, allowing Scuba to briefly take the lead. Hollywood Handsome quickly took over that position, but the late-running Good Samaritan utilized the long Fair Grounds stretch to mow down the field. Good Samaritan crossed the wire about two lengths ahead of Hollywood Handsome, and Scuba finished third.
Bred in Kentucky by WinStar Farm, Good Samaritan started his career on the turf and earned a third-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf. As a sophomore, he was eventually switched to the dirt, and scored a big victory in the Jim Dandy. Overall, the colt boasts a record of 4-3-1 from 11 starts, with earnings of over $1.1 million.
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