Hard-Knocking Go Google Yourself, Gray Magician Earn Ellis Park Stakes Wins

by | 08.12.2019 | 1:25pm
Samantha Siegel's Go Google Yourself draws away from Divine Queen to win the Groupie Doll Stakes for her first stakes victory.

A pair of hard-knocking horses earned their first stakes Sunday at Ellis Park, with Go Google Yourself capturing the $125,000 Groupie Doll, presented by Field & Main Bank, by three lengths over Divine Queen and Gray Magician a race later taking the $100,000 Ellis Park Derby, presented by Kruckemeyer & Cohn Jewelry, by a half-length over Knicks Go.

Also Sunday, a fundraiser for Kentuckiana Friends of V, an affiliate of The V Foundation for Cancer Research, raised more than $10,000.

Samantha Siegel's 4-year-old Go Google Yourself and jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. stalked front-running Divine Queen before taking the lead on the turn and drawing away through the stretch of the $125,000 Groupie Doll Stakes presented by Field & Main Bank for a three-length frolic at Ellis Park. Go Google Yourself covered the mile in 1:36.43, paying $6.80 to win as the second choice in the field of six fillies and mares. Divine Queen and jockey Calvin Borel finished 6 1/2 lengths in front of odds-on favorite Moonlit Garden, the eight-length Iowa Distaff winner.

“This filly, she's been knocking at the door to get a stakes win, and finally got it done today,” said winning trainer Paul McGee, who shipped in from Churchill Downs. “So this was great. (Sire) Into Mischief, it doesn't get any hotter than that, and Samantha raced the mare.”

In fact, the 3-year-old filly Daddymademedoit, who also is a daughter of the Deputy Minister mare Taunt, finished second in the 10th race for maidens on turf at Ellis.

“This is a special race to win because we've been here the last 12 years or so at Ellis, and this is their signature race,” Hernandez said. “She's run in some good races. Her last race at Churchill, she did run against Elate and a couple of other Grade 1 winners, and she ran a respectable race. But today we kind of set it up to where we thought she was the best horse and just let her show that. She got into a nice rhythm and was pretty confident in herself the whole race, and she was able to run around there do what she needed to do.”

Go Google Yourself was fourth behind three Grade 1 winners in Churchill Downs' Grade 2 Fleur de Lis Handicap in her last start and before that was a close second in Keeneland's Grade 3 Doubledogdare. She's now 5-4-3 in 16 starts, earning $342,985 with the $77,000 winner's purse.

“That last race, you talk about a tough race for a Grade 2, with (victorious) Elate coming back to win the Delaware Handicap,” McGee said. “Brian and I were talking about that in the paddock, that there weren't any Elates in there today. We were just glad to get it done. But Brian said she had a good feel all the way around, had her ears pricked and was running comfortable. We also turned the tables on that filly that beat us in the Dogwood.”

That's Divine Queen, who beat Go Google Yourself by a head in last September's Dogwood at Churchill Downs.

“She ran well,” said Buff Bradley, Divine Queen's trainer, co-owner and breeder who also trained co-owned and bred Groupie Doll, the two-time champion for whom the stakes is named. “Calvin rode her perfectly. We knew we were going to try to go out there, since we had the one hole, and try to control the pace a little bit. It looked like the 4, Paul McGee's horse, had us the whole way, was right on our outside the whole way. But Divine Queen never gave up. She just kept trying, and that's the way she is. She's all heart. I'm proud of her. We'll be back next year.”

Said Borel: “I thought she ran good. She struggled a little bit on the track, but we just got outrun. She ran her race. She'll be all right.”

Far more disappointed was Brad Cox, trainer of Moonlit Garden, who never was really a threat in the race.

“To be 3-5 and run a distant third,” he said. “She looked like she was traveling fine, but just not really into the bridle, taking Florent (Geroux) up the backside like I'd have liked to have seen. Very flat effort. We'll regroup, maybe look at the Locust Grove at Churchill and go from there.”

Moonlit Garden was followed home by Sweet Arithmetic and Auspicious Babe. My Mertie, winner of Arlington Park's Grade 3 Chicago Handicap in her last start, stumbled at the start, unseating jockey Tyler Baze. Both the 7-year-old mare, who continued to run on before being corralled by the outriders, and Baze were OK.

The Peter Miller-trained Gray Magician had been second in three stakes, including the $2.5 million UAE Derby and more recently the Grade 3 Indiana Derby won by the surging quadruple graded-stakes winner Mr. Money. But Gray Magician knocked out that first stakes by wearing down the front-running Knicks Go, winner of last fall's Grade 1 Claiborne Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland and second in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, for a half-length score in the $100,000 Ellis Park Derby, presented by Kruckemeyer & Cohn Jewelry.

Gray Magician battled Knicks Go, who turned in his best performance since the Breeders' Cup, throughout the stretch before budging ahead to cover the mile in 1:36.19 in the battle of dark gray horses. He paid $5 to win as the favorite in the field of seven 3-year-olds.

“I watched his replays, and he always finishes fast,” said winning jockey Corey Lanerie after riding Gray Magician for the first time. “Today I thought we'd be sitting third, maybe fourth. But he always broke really good in his races, and again today. He's a good gate horse, he leaves really fast in the first three jumps, and then he falls right back in your hands.

“To be honest, I almost underestimated the horse on the lead. Coming to the quarter pole, I'm taking a peek back looking for closers and almost sat a little too long and gave him a little bit of a run in front of me. It took all I had to get by him. But my horse, he just prevailed and was the best horse today. Peter Miller and his crew had him ready. I'm glad I didn't mess it up.”

The California-based Miller, who for the first time has a division based in Kentucky at Churchill Downs, won his first stakes at Ellis Park.

“It was a tough race,” he said by phone. “Knicks Go was very difficult to get by, and Corey gave a great ride. All the accolades go to my assistant, Felipe Sousa.”

The Ben Colebrook-trained Knicks Go finished four lengths in front of Night Ops, who was followed by Grade 2 Holy Bull winner Harvey Wallbanger, Eskenforit, second choice Super Steed (making his first start in six months since winning Oaklawn Park's Grade 3 Southwest Stakes) and graded stakes-placed Whiskey Echo.

“Man, what can I tell you?” said Gabriel Saez, aboard Knicks Go for the first time. “He ran a tremendous race. I got to the front end, was trying to slow it down. We turned for home, he started bottling up with all the horses. Corey's horse was the favorite, and he was with him every step of the way. He did great.”

Gray Magician is owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Gary Barber and Wachtel Stable. The son of Graydar won his second race in 11 starts, but had four seconds and two thirds while racing on all over the country and in Dubai. He bumped his earnings to $738,710 with the $60,570 payday. His only finishes worse than fourth came over wet tracks, including 19th in the Kentucky Derby.

“We talked about going to Mountaineer Park and going against Mr. Money in the West Virginia Derby,” Miller said. “We even talked about the Pacific Classic, a bunch of different spots. But this one made sense. He's there, and it's always nice to run at home. But it did come up a lot tougher than I thought. It was a pretty salty race for $100,000.

“He fires really every time. He tries hard. He's just a really solid, nice horse. Just very happy for the owners. We passed up some more lucrative spots for this one, and it worked out.”

Twitter Twitter
Paulick Report on Instagram