Updated on 05/19/2012 2:22PM

Pimlico: Zagora flies home to win Gallorette

Tom Keyser
Zagora and Javier Castellano win the Grade 3 Gallorette at Pimlico on Saturday.

BALTIMORE – For a moment there, it looked as if Zagora might be victimized by pace again. But with a calculated ride and smooth trip under Javier Castellano, the standout mare came through as the favorite Saturday in the 61st running of the Grade 3, $150,000 Gallorette Handicap, the first stakes on the Preakness card at Pimlico.

After tracking the pace while saving ground, Zagora surged through an opening at the top of the turf course and continued resolutely, wearing down the race-long front-runner, Speak Easy Gal, to prevail by 1 3/4 lengths and complete the 1 1/16-mile distance in 1:41.73 over a firm course. The French-bred mare paid $4 and now has earned more than $950,000.

“Considering she didn’t break that well, I thought she ran a great race,” said Chad Brown, who trains Zagora for Martin Schwartz. “Javier rode a beautiful race, and that made all the difference.”

Zagora now is a four-time graded stakes win in her 10 races since being imported from France, with the Grade 1 Diana last summer at Saratoga being her most notable win. In her last race, the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley at Keeneland, she was never able to close ground when finishing fifth behind Daisy Devine, who set a dawdling pace in leading wire to wire.

In the Gallorette, Speak Easy Gal set fractions of 23.80, 48.02, and 1:12.02 before Zagora made her run. Speak Easy Gal, a 12-1 shot under Joel Rosario, was able to hold second, three-quarters of a length before Laughing, with Smart Sting another neck back in fourth in a field of seven fillies and mares.