10/01/2016 6:46PM

Gormley left alone on lead in FrontRunner

Benoit & Associates
Gormley, under Victor Espinoza, upsets 1-5 favorite Klimt in the FrontRunner.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Gormley inherited the lead a few strides after the start of Saturday’s $300,690 FrontRunner Stakes at Santa Anita, leaving Victor Espinoza surprised to be without a challenge early in the Grade 1 race for 2-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles.

“I didn’t expect the race to set up like that,” Espinoza said. “You can make all the plans and they change when the gate opens.”

The tactic worked in favor of Gormley.

Gormley ($23.60) led throughout the FrontRunner, scoring an upset win over 1-5 favorite Klimt. The victory gave Gormley a fees-paid berth for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile through the Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In program.

Gormley ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.57, finishing three lengths clear of Klimt, the winner of the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity at seven furlongs on Sept. 5. Straight Fire, who was second in the Del Mar Futurity, finished third, followed by Midnight Pleasure, Vibe, and Plum Dandy.

Secret House, who was 60-1 at post time, was declared a non-starter after jockey Santiago Gonzalez stepped off the colt a moment before the race began and put his right foot on a ledge within the stall. Secret House ran on the outside rail through the race and did not interfere with the other runners.

The stewards reviewed the start before announcing that Secret House was a non-starter.

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 “He stepped off,” steward Grant Baker said of Gonzalez’s action. “We felt it was best to refund the money.”

Gormley set a moderate pace of 23.72 seconds for the opening quarter-mile, and 47.18 for the first half-mile. He led by a length on the backstretch and was in front by 3 1/2 lengths with a furlong to go.

Gormley, a colt by Malibu Moon, is unbeaten in two starts. Owned by Jerry and Ann Moss and trained by John Shirreffs, Gormley won his debut in a maiden race at 6 1/2 furlongs by 4 1/4 lengths at Del Mar on Sept. 4.

Shirreffs said in advance of Saturday’s race that Gormley had trained well through September and deserved a chance in the FrontRunner. Espinoza said the colt has massive upside and showed considerable progress between the maiden race and the FrontRunner.

“He’s a very talented young horse and will improve a lot in the future,” Espinoza said. “He’s a very smart horse.”


J Vette More than 1 year ago
Thomas, you are 100% correct...... if racing wants to show that it's not fixed or or doesn't want the perception of "shenanigans", then have Baffert or whoever the trainer is, tell the Bettors that we are going to use a change in tatics, because without the Bettors, where would racing be ???....in Dubai i guess.... 
Thomas More than 1 year ago
And you wonder why racing is losing millions in bets every day.  This race is a clear example of how fixed and corrupt horse racing is.  Had the public known that Baffert and Bejarano were going to take Klimt out of his natural running style and yank him back 10 lengths off a 23 and 47 half to see if he could close instead of having him 1,2 lengths off the slow pace,  then ok, but the bettor is screwed due to the fixed inside info.  Why would i bet horse racing, which i haven't in 3 years but love watching races,   where a trainer and jockey aren't held accountable for basically fixing races? Klimt was 1 length off a 44 half last race and every race and is now 10 lengths off 47.  "We wanted to see him rate," sure you can justify it by saying that after the race but it's not fair to the bettors who lost a hundred thousand dollars due to this inside information.  This wasn't an in race correction either,  Klimt was purposely yanked 10 lengths off the 47 half on the world's most speed biased racetrack.  
Blaine MacMillan More than 1 year ago
Tyren More than 1 year ago
Victor's baaackk with another early Derby contender!