Havelock found room next to the rail in the Grade 3 Shakertown Stakes and rallied through a small opening to get up in time to edge Something Extra by a nose in a blanket finish in which the first five finishers were separated by less than a length.
Havelock, a six-year-old Maryland homebred son of Great Notion out of the Spectacular Love mare Pinoneach (NZ), covered 5½ furlongs on a firm turf course in 1:03.02 to earn $60,000. Winner of the 2011 Woodford Stakes (G3) here in 2011, Havelock improved his record to 21-8-0-3 and boosted his earnings to $525,491.
Perfect Officer and Berlino Di Tiger (BRZ) led the field of nine through an opening quarter-mile in :21.75 with Havelock at the rear of the field. The leaders remained unchanged at the head of the stretch with a number of challengers stacking up on their flanks.
Gomez waited until midstretch before diving toward the rail, squeezing through and striking the front a few yards from the wire. It was the second Shakertown victory for Gomez, who won the race in 2006 with Atticus Kristy.
Havelock returned $18.60, $7.80 and $4.80. Something Extra, ridden by Julien Leparoux, returned $4 and $2.60 with defending race champion Perfect Officer finishing third, a head back under Javier Castellano, and paying $3 to show.
Finishing a neck back in fourth was Canuletmedowneasy, who was followed in order by Next Question, Hogy, Regally Ready, Berlino Di Tiger and China.
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Garrett Gomez (winning jockey): “(Trainer) Darrin (Miller) did a great job with him. He's a really classy individual. Real push-button like (Miller) told me in the paddock. I just kinda let him get upon his feet and come home.”
On racing along the rail en route to victory: “The way it was developing, in the middle of the turn, I thought about trying to work my way out. I ended up being behind Julien (Leparoux on Something Extra). Julien looked like he couldn't quite make up his mind where he wanted to go either. I went ahead and committed myself to the inside. He ended up next to me, and we finished up well together.”
Darrin Miller (winning trainer of Havelock): On Havelock's third career victory on the Keeneland turf course: “He loves it here. Garrett was humble, and I want to say that was all him. He made every decision the right decision. (Havelock is) a great horse. He's a lot of fun. He always shows up. Garrett did a fantastic job.”
On Havelock's next race: “There's a race at Belmont that I'd like to make with him. I don't know. We'll see.”
Julien Leparoux (rider of second-place finisher and beaten favorite Something Extra): “It was actually a really exciting race. I'm sure it was exciting to watch. We got a very good trip. At the quarter pole, there were a bunch of horses in front of us but when we got through finally on the rail, the winner came with me on the rail and kind of pushed us and we finished together. But he just beat me, barely, just a little bit.”
Javier Castellano (rider of third-place finisher and beaten favorite Perfect Officer): “He put in a great effort. I'm very satisfied with the way he did it. I wish we coulda won the race. We just got beat.”
James Bredin (racing manager for David Ross, owner of Perfect Officer): “I thought he ran good off the layoff. Maybe just got a little late and maybe got a little tired that last sixteenth”
Rosie Napravnik (rider of fourth-place finisher Canuletmedowneasy): “I had a great trip. He ran a very good race.”
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