Millennium Farms’ Student Council, who hadn’t hit the board in four starts since his victory in the Hawthorne Gold Cup (gr. II) last September, rallied from off the pace in the mud to win the grade I, $250,000 Pimlico Special (VIDEO) May 16 at Pimlico Race Course.
With Shaun Bridgmohan riding for trainer Steve Asmussen, Student Council was reserved early in the seven-horse field as Centaur Farms’ Gottcha Gold set moderate early fractions after breaking on top at the outset of the 1 3/16-mile Special. Student Council was last early at the rail, gradually moved up on the outside on the backstretch, fanned wide at the top of the lane, and had the momentum in the final eighth of a mile.
Gottcha Gold, with Chuck Lopez in the saddle, held the lead until the final few jumps. Student Council got up to win by a neck.
The fractions were :23.87 for the first quarter-mile, and :47.46 for a half-mile. Gottcha Gold, with only mild challenges, picked up the pace with six furlongs in 1:11.39, and a mile in 1:36.17. Student Council needed everything he had to get up to win in 1:54.87, more than two seconds off the track record for 1 3/16 miles on a sealed track. It was 5 3/4 lengths back to the third-place finisher Sir Whimsey, ridden by Edgar Prado.
Bridgmohan said he had watched earlier races on the program and was hopeful the Special would set up for late runners. He never had ridden Student Council in a race.
“I had seen him run, and I didn’t want to take him out of his game,” Bridgmohan said. “Around the (final) turn, I had so much horse. He was asking me to give him somewhere to go.”
Ro Parra, who owns Millennium Farms near Lexington, Ky., said Student Council’s trip to Japan last fall for the group I Japan Cup dirt may have been a mistake; he checked in eighth. Parra said the trip took something out of Student Council, who needed a lot of time to recover.
Parra said Asmussen had him ready. “Steve was pretty confident the horse would run big,” Parra said.
Sent off as the fourth choice in the field of seven, Student Council paid $16.40, $6.60 and $4. The $2 exacta with Gottcha Gold ($4, $3) paid $63.60, and the $2 trifecta with Sir Whimsey ($3.40) returned $302.80. The $1 superfecta with fourth-place finisher Temporary Saint paid $731.10.
The 2-1 choice Grasshopper, who vied with Gottcha Gold for favoritism, rallied on the far turn but flattened out in the lane and finished fifth. Ryan's for Real and Xchanger trailed.
Student Council, a 6-year-old horse by Kingmambo out of the Kris S. mare Class Kris, now has eight wins in 27 starts. Last summer, he won the $1 million Pacific Classic (gr. I) on the Del Mar Polytrack. The Pimlico Special victory, worth $150,000, increased the millionaire's earnings to $1,307,731.