10/26/2008 11:00PM

Victorina gets breakthrough victory in Marina


ALBANY, Calif. - Victorina may have opened new vistas with her three-quarter-length victory over Unspoken Word in Sunday's Marina Stakes at Golden Gate Fields.

It was her first win around two turns - not that she had run poorly before at a mile or longer. She was third in the Grade 3 Dogwood, a one-turn mile at Churchill Downs, in 2006, losing by a length and a head. She was second to Secret Scheme in the 1 1/16-mile Noe Valley, beaten three lengths, and then ran second to Bai and Bai by three-quarters of a length in the 1 1/16-mile Muir Woods here in 2006 and 2007.

"She'd always run well in routes," trainer Greg Gilchrist said. "But with Hystericalady, Somethinaboutlaura, and Bai and Bai around here, we tried to stay away from them and sprinted her."

The victory capped an interesting week for Gilchrist, who had to scratch Indyanne from the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint with a cough and minor temperature and saw High Resolve run second to Foxy Danseur in the Cascapedia on Sunday at Oak Tree.

Indyanne would have been in tough in the Sprint, but Gilchrist said: "That's where you want to be, but if you have one that has a minor cough and minor temperature, you know she would have gone out and tried her best, and we probably would have had a pretty sick horse when she came back. As it is now, we may be able to run again late in November or December."

High Resolve broke sharply in the seven-furlong Cascapedia, but sat back under jockey Russell Baze when Dawn Before Dawn gunned to the front.

"Seven-eighths is very tough, and it was hard to win on the lead down there," Gilchrist said. "Russell and I talked about it, and he rode a good race. You can't change what got you there, and I told him not to take all the run out of her. He relaxed her when that other horse went by. She ran well and held on well. It was a determined effort."

Jockey's profile gets higher

Victorina's victory may also open new vistas for her rider, Billy Antongeorgi, who is 2 for 2 aboard her, having also won an allowance race with her at the Bay Meadows Fair.

The 21-year-old jockey has made steady progress, and his second Northern California stakes victory will probably win him notice with trainers, as he gave Victorina a perfect ride.

"I would hope so," Antongeorgi said when asked if he thought the ride would benefit him. "Everyone watches the stakes race, and it helps when Gilchrist has you riding for him. People think you must be doing something right."

Gilchrist has begun to use Antongeorgi more and says he fits Victorina well.

"He's patient and has good hands," said Gilchrist, who said Antongeorgi reminds him of Randy Schacht, who had a lot of success with Gilchrist in the 1970s. "He keeps them in good position and makes sure they have enough gas left in the tank."

Antongeorgi, whose mother and father both rode, didn't originally plan to be a jockey, but he got plenty of support and advice when he decided to ride, beginning at Hollywood Park in 2005.

"I was always taught to try to save some horse," he said, adding that when he started riding in Southern California, he was aided by watching the rides of jockeys such as Alex Solis, Mike Smith and Corey Nakatani

Antongeorgi came here in March after suffering a badly broken ankle that sidelined him for six months. He hooked up with agent Jay Robinson and has developed a good reputation. Robinson said he has begun to get calls from Southern California trainers when they send horses north.

* Trainer Frank Lucarelli, who is based at Golden Gate during the winter, will give Breeders' Cup Juvenile seventh-place finisher Gallant Son a 30-day break at a Southern California farm. He said that he would likely bring Gallant Son to Golden Gate Fields to prepare for his 3-year-old campaign.