05/28/2010 12:00AM

Gallant Son earns shot at Shoemaker Mile

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. -Watching Gallant Son rally from fifth to win his first graded stakes in the Grade 3 Inglewood Handicap at Hollywood Park made a believer of the colt's trainer, Frank Lucarelli.

In the early months of the year, Lucarelli wanted to test Gallant Son in an important turf race. The win by 1 3/4 lengths proved that Gallant Son fits in big grass races such as Monday's $250,000 Shoemaker Mile.

"Months ago, I wasn't sure he belongs in a Grade 1 turf race," he said on Friday.

Gallant Son ran a near-perfect race in the Inglewood, and will need another such performance to have a chance of winning the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile. Ridden by Mike Smith in the Inglewood, Gallant Son rallied from fifth with a four-wide move to take the lead in early stretch.

"That was his best race by far," Lucarelli said. "All three of his turf races have been pretty good."

The Shoemaker Mile, one of the top races for the division in California each year, will be a tough test for Gallant Son, who will once again be ridden by Smith. In a field of 10, Gallant Son must beat Compari, the winner of the Grade 2 Arcadia Handicap at Santa Anita last month; Global Hunter, the winner of the Grade 1 Eddie Read Stakes at Del Mar last summer; and Karelian, who won the Grade 1 Maker's Mark Mile at Keeneland last month.

The field will not include the four-time stakes winner Monterey Jazz, who was second in the Grade 2 San Francisco Mile at Golden Gate Fields on April 24. Trainer Craig Dollase said earlier this week that Monterey Jazz is sidelined with an injury, which he declined to describe.

Gallant Son had a busy season at Santa Anita, making five starts. He was second in the Grade 3 Sir Beaufort Stakes on turf last December, but his form tailed off in two route races on the main track -- a seventh in the Grade 2 San Fernando Stakes and an eighth in the Strub Stakes. He was later second and fourth in two sprints before the win in the Inglewood.

It was not the winter and early spring campaign that Lucarelli wanted. He would have preferred more grass racing, but his hopes were stymied when suitable races failed to fill and the Joe Hernandez Stakes came off the turf. Gallant Son still ran second in the Hernandez in early March.

"I couldn't get a [turf] race to go for him in the north or south," he said. "We've been trying to get the right turf race for him."

Friday at Hollywood Park, Gallant Son breezed out a quarter-mile at the end of a two-mile gallop, Lucarelli said, the final major exercise before Monday's race.

"I don't see any reason he won't fire his race again," Lucarelli said.