05/20/2017 3:51PM

Cambodia breaks through for first stakes victory in Gallorette

Michael Amoruso
Cambodia, ridden by Florent Geroux, wins the Gallorette Stakes by two lengths.

BALTIMORE – In a race named for a Maryland-bred legend on the state's biggest weekend of racing, Cambodia continued a solid run for the home team, getting a perfect ride from Florent Geroux to win the Grade 3, $150,000 Gallorette Stakes by two lengths Saturday on the Preakness Stakes undercard at Pimlico.

Cambodia was bred in Kentucky but is based at the Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md., about an hour from Pimlico, for trainer Tom Proctor. She followed Maryland-bred Everything Lovely’s victory in the The Very One Stakes and Laurel Park-based Recruiting Ready’s win in the Chick Lang Stakes for Maryland’s Sagamore Farm.

On Friday, Fair Hill-based Happy Mesa won the Hilltop Stakes for trainer Graham Motion, and Shaman Ghost, owned by Pimlico owner Frank Stronach, won the Grade 3 Pimlico Special.

The Gallorette was Cambodia’s first stakes victory after three consecutive placings. The mare finished third in the Marie G. Krantz Memorial and the Daisy Devine Stakes over the winter at Fair Grounds and third in the Dahlia Stakes last month at Laurel Park, beaten less than three lengths in all three races combined.

Geroux settled Cambodia ($11.20) in second to stalk the pace early as longshot Come to Mischief took the field through moderate early fractions of 24.63 seconds, 49.78, and 1:14.31. Geroux gave Cambodia her cue straightening away into the stretch, and she assumed command willingly, kicking on well for the win.

"When I asked her turning for home, she responded with a quick turn of foot," Geroux said.

The final time for the 1 1/16 miles was 1:44.36 on a drying-out turf course officially rated “good.”

Cambodia was followed home by the two wagering favorites. Grade 2 winner On Leave, making her first start since October, sat a good inside stalking trip but could not mount a serious run at the leader in the lane. She held second by half a length over even-money favorite Elysea’s World, who rallied from last for her third consecutive graded-stakes placing.