Gorella Back With Distaffers in Just a Game

Gorella Back With Distaffers in Just a Game
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
Jenny Wiley winner Wend among five taking on Gorella as she faces a field of fillies in Saturday's Just a Game 'Cap.
Gorella, beaten less than two lengths by top males English Channel and Cacique five weeks ago in Churchill's Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (gr. IT), will be the one to beat Saturday in the $300,000 Just a Game Handicap (gr. IIT) on the Belmont Park Widener Turf course.

The one-mile event for fillies and mares drew six, including Mirabilis, winner of Churchill's Distaff Turf Mile (gr. IIIT) on Kentucky Derby Day.

Gorella could have a sizeable class edge on her Just a Game competition. In three U.S. losses, this French-bred filly has been beaten a total of 2 ½ lengths. She lost the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (gr. IT) at Keeneland by a head, the Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) by three-quarters of a length, and the Turf Classic by 1 ¾ lengths.

"We chose this race because it's easier," said trainer Patrick Biancone, who also nominated Gorella to the Manhattan. "We ran her against colts last time because of two reasons. First, there was no money in the Distaff Turf Mile. Second, we wanted to see if she could go a mile and an eighth against top competition. She proved she could. We already know she is a top miler."

Mirabilis is owned by Juddmonte Farms and trained by Bobby Frankel, who teamed up to win the Just a Game two years ago with Intercontinental. A filly by Lear Fan, Mirabilis easily defeated the ultra-consistent Wend in the Distaff Turf Mile five weeks ago.

Wend is a multiple graded stakes winner on turf who simply did not fire on Kentucky Derby Day. She is likely to produce a better effort Saturday over a course on which she won the New York Handicap (gr. IIT). Wend goes out for trainer Bill Mott.

$300,000 Just a Game Handicap (gr. IIT, Race 7, 3:50 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 1 Mile (Turf)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Ozone Bere (FR), 116, Javier Castellano
2. Gorella (FR), 120, Julien Leparoux
3. Wend (KY), 119, Edgar Prado
4. Bright Abundance (KY), 115, Richard Migliore
5. Mirabilis (KY), 119, Garrett Gomez
6. Pommes Frites (KY), 116, Cornelio Velasquez

Most Popular Stories