04/27/2010 11:00PM

Gallant Son targeting Longacres Mile


AUBURN, Wash. - Gallant Son is coming home, trainer Frank Lucarelli confirmed Tuesday. But after the 4-year-old colt's powerful victory Sunday in the Grade 3 Inglewood Handicap at Hollywood Park, that return will have to wait a little while.

The champion 2-year-old at Emerald Downs in 2008, Gallant Son has been campaigning in California since leaving to compete in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita in October 2008. A troubled seventh behind Midshipman in the Juvenile, he won the one-mile Pasadena Stakes at Santa Anita the following spring in his first start on turf, and was a fast-closing second behind The Usual Q.T. in the one-mile, Grade 3 Sir Beaufort last December in his second grass attempt.

The Inglewood was Gallant Son's third try on the turf, and now that he's a proven player, Lucarelli wants to give him another shot, this time in the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile at Hollywood Park on May 31. After that, Lucarelli and owners Chris and Diane Randall will chart a course that leads Gallant Son to the Grade 3, $250,000 Longacres Mile on Aug. 22.

"We're still focusing on the Mile up at Emerald," Lucarelli said. "Our plans haven't changed, but we're trying to decide on timing."

Possible local preps for Gallant Son include the Governor's Handicap on July 11 or the Mt. Rainier on Aug. 1, or the horse could just come in for the Mile, Lucarelli said.

"We're leaning right now toward the Shoemaker, but I don't care if we win the Grade 1, we're still aiming for the Mile," he said.

Gallant Son won the Inglewood by 1 3/4 lengths, running 1 1/16 miles in 1:39.67 under Mike Smith. After tracking a fast pace, Gallant Son accelerated past the leaders on the far turn and finished strongly. He had failed to sustain similar runs in previous starts on synthetic surfaces, but Lucarelli is convinced he'll have no problems with the dirt at Emerald Downs, where he won four races at 2, capped by a six-length victory in the Gottstein Futurity.

"He's run second in a tough stakes on the dirt, he got beat 3 1/2 lengths in the Breeders' Cup," Lucarelli said. "It's not like he's a one-dimensional turf horse by any means. I have no qualms about bringing him and running him on the Emerald Downs racetrack. If I can keep him healthy, it's going to take a really good horse to come up here and beat him."