Randaroo Romps in Shirley Jones Handicap
by Jack Shinar
Date Posted: 2/8/2004 6:46:33 PM
Last Updated: 2/9/2004 7:21:05 PM

Randaroo, with John Velazquez riding, wins the $100,000 Shirley Jones Handicap, Sunday at Gulfstream Park.
Photo: Bill Denver
Joseph Allen's Randaroo got the jump on the better-fancied Harmony Lodge and the speedy filly turned what was supposed to be a match race between the two into a 7 1/4-length romp in the $100,000 Shirley Jones Handicap (gr. III) Sunday at Gulfstream Park.

Randaroo, racing off the rail with John Velazquez in the irons, led all the way while completing the seven-furlong journey in 1:21 2/5 on a fast track. Harmony Lodge, the 6-5 favorite in a field of eight ridden by Richard Migliore, held on to second by three-quarters of a length over Halory Leigh.

A 4-year-old daughter of Gold Case–Validated (by Valid Appeal), Randaroo won her fourth graded stakes race in five tries since October. The loss came in her previous start, the La Brea (gr. I), when she was beaten by Island Fashion by six lengths at Santa Anita Dec. 27.

Overall, the bay sports seven wins and four seconds in 13 career outings. She picked up a winner's share of $60,000, increasing her lifetime earnings to $551,680.

Kiaran McLaughlin trains Randaroo.

Harmony Lodge, who won last year's Shirley Jones by three lengths over Gold Mover, had captured three straight graded stakes races, including the Ballerina Handicap (gr. I) at Saratoga in August. She was three for four in graded stakes at Gulfstream Park as well, including an impressive victory over House Party in the First Lady Handicap (gr. III) in her most recent outing on Jan. 11.

But the 121-pound top weight was second best on Sunday.

Randaroo, getting three pounds from the favorite, broke sharply to gain the lead while racing off the rail through an opening quarter mile of :22 2/5. She gradually increased her lead over Harmony Lodge, who prompted the pace while three wide, through a half-mile in :44 4/5. On the turn, Randaroo separated from the field, opening up by 2 1/2 lengths a furlong from home in 1:08 4/5. She finished strongly while under pressure from Velazquez all the way to the wire.

Bred in Kentucky by Dennis Drazin, Randaroo was a $75,000 Fasig-Tipton purchase in July 2001.

The 9-5 second choice paid $5.60, $2.80 and $2.60. Harmony Lodge returned $2.40 and $2.20. Halory Leigh, who closed under Craig Perret for third, showed for $3.80. The $2 exacta was worth $12.

(Chart, Equibase)

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