The way Rachel Alexandra won the Kentucky Oaks—by a whopping 201/4 lengths—anything that ran behind her had to be given another chance in her next start. Gabby's Golden Gal proved that theory true when she won the Acorn Stakes (gr. I) (VIDEO) in front-running style June 6 at Belmont Park.
Bettors who supported that line of reasoning were richly rewarded as Gabby’s Golden Girl got off at 13-1 while winning her first graded stakes.
The track had been favoring speed and Javier Castellano put Gabby’s Golden Gal right on the lead along the inside. The daughter of hot sire Medaglia d'Oro went wire-to-wire to upset 9-10 choice Justwhistledixie by 1 3/4 lengths.
Gabby’s Golden Gal had a bit of an overheating issue when she returned to be unsaddled. She was bathed down and did not get her picture taken in the winner’s circle. But she looked fine while walking back to the barn area.
"The track is speedy today and the rail is very good," Castellano said. "That’s the reason I took advantage. I knew handicapping the race there was a lot of speed in the race, but I broke on top and the filly gave it everything she had.
"I thought when I pulled them up and she came back, she was coming back tired.”
Gabby’s Golden Gal was tracked by Doremifasollatido and Justwhistledixie down the backside in the one-turn mile race for 3-year-old fillies. She went a quarter in :22.61, a half in :45.39, and six furlongs in 1:09.01.
The winner opened up by three lengths mid-stretch. Justwhistledixie tried to make a run at her but to no avail, as Castellano had enough left in the tank to get Gabby’s Golden Gal home in front under strong right-handed urging in 1:34.79.
Bred and owned by Arnold Zetcher and trained by Bob Baffert, Gabby’s Golden Gal paid $28.40, $8.50, and $6.10. Justwhistledixie returned $3 and $2.30 and Casanova Move paid $5.30.
The winner, bred in Kentucky, is out of the English-bred Ashkalani mare Gabriellina Giof.
“She’s not real big but she puts everything into it," said Zetcher. "Bob calls her a little keg of dynamite. This is a good distance for her. When we bred her, at the time, we thought Medaglia d’Oro had good potential, and the dam, Gabriellina Giof, was our first winner.
"We wanted to get past that last race (the Kentucky Oaks)," he added. "We haven’t thought about what’s next; we really want to enjoy this one.”
Livin Lovin was followed by Be Fair, Four Gifts, Doremifasollatido, Funny Moon and Dream Play.
Gabby's Golden Girl won the Sunland Park Oaks by 13 lengths prior to meeting up with Rachel Alexandra in Kentucky. The Acorn victory, worth $180,000, was her third in six lifetime starts and more than doubled her bankroll to $347,905.