06/30/2012 9:03PM

Hollywood Park: Jeranimo zooms from last to first in Shoemaker Mile

Benoit & Associates
Garrett Gomez guides Jeranimo to his first career Grade 1 victory in the Shoemaker Mile.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Jeranimo was last of eight on the final turn of Saturday’s $300,000 Shoemaker Mile at Betfair Hollywood Park - and that was fine with red-hot jockey Garrett Gomez.

“I thought, ‘Let’s wind him up, shoot him off the turn, and see what happens,’ ” Gomez recalled.

What happened was Jeranimo’s first win in a Grade 1 race. Rallying wide through the stretch, Jeranimo ($19.60) ran past his rivals to win the turf race by 1 1/4 lengths over the highly regarded Argentine import Suggestive Boy.

Jeranimo was timed in 1:33.97.

“I was glad he ran his race,” Gomez said.

Little Mike, the 8-5 favorite and pacesetter, finished third, followed by Mr. Commons, Corporate Jungle, Dubai You XYZ, Hudson Landing, and Liberian Freighter.

Little Mike, the winner of the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs in May, led by a length with a furlong remaining. Mr.

Commons, the 2-1 second choice, raced in traffic briefly in early stretch and was not a threat when clear in the final furlong.

Suggestive Boy made his American debut in the Shoemaker. Trained by Ron McAnally since earlier this year, Suggestive Boy won four Group 1 races in Argentina last year.

The victory by Jeranimo gave the 6-year-old horse a fees-paid berth to the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita on Nov. 3. The Shoemaker Mile was part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge program, guaranteeing a berth in the BC Mile to the winner.

Gomez, who won four races on Saturday, rode Jeranimo to a win in the Grade 2 Citation Handicap here last November. Jeranimo lost his first three starts of 2012 before his upset win on Saturday. Gomez rode Jeranimo for the first time this year in the Shoemaker.

“I know the horse a little bit,” Gomez said. “He was a little aggressive going into the first turn, but I let him do his thing.”

Gomez kept Jeranimo toward the inside for the first five furlongs and did not move to the outside of horses until the turn. The victory gave owner B.J. Wright and trainer Mike Pender their sixth graded stakes win in the last year, and left Wright eager for the Breeders’ Cup.

Last fall, Jeranimo, by Congaree, won the Grade 2 Oak Tree Mile on turf at Santa Anita and finished seventh in the BC Mile at Churchill Downs.

Wright is eager to start Jeranimo at Santa Anita this fall.

“We’ve got the home field advantage,” Wright said. “This is a Win and You’re In race and we’ve got Gomez. What’s better than that?”