Trained by Josie Carroll, the dark bay daughter of Ghostzapper came into the 1 1/16-mile Tapeta race for 3-year-old fillies off a sixth-place run, just two lengths back, in the Florida Oaks (gr. IIIT) at Tampa Bay Downs.
Gamble's Ghost, leaving from the inside post in the field of six in the Selene, settled into fifth position in the early running, as Caren, a four-time stakes winner piloted by Jesse Campbell, ran the opening quarter in :24.55.
Caren led the field down the back straight under pressure from Niigon's Legacy and Thrilled, the even-money favorite, who moved up to engage the front-running pair through a half in :48.55.
As the field entered the final turn, Contreras asked Gamble's Ghost and the filly responded with an impressive turn of foot to engage Caren. The duo battled briefly from the top of the lane before Gamble's Ghost took command for a 1 1/4-length win. Caren held second, 3 1/4 lengths ahead of Thrilled. Gamble's Ghost covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.05.
"That's the way the filly runs all the time and I really didn't want to do anything different. She's been running like that and winning," Contreras said of the filly, who also won the Mazarine (Can-III) at Woodbine in October. "I had to move a little bit earlier than I wanted to as I didn't want to ride too hard with the wind, so I let her go early. She's a good filly."
In addition to her Mazarine win, Gamble's Ghost was also runner-up in the Natalma (Can-IIT), behind eventual Canadian Horse of the Year Catch a Glimpse.
Carroll is pleased with how the filly improved through the winter months spent at Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida.
"She's a very elegant filly. She filled out. She didn't get real tall, but she has a nice shape to her," Carroll said.
Carroll noted that the sixth-place run in the Florida Oaks was a good effort.
"It was a better race than it looked," Carroll said. "She left the gate and slipped a little in behind and it took her a little while to get rolling after that. I think it's a much better race than it looks on paper."
Gamble's Ghost is out of Gambling Girl, who won the 1996 La Prevoyante Stakes at Woodbine for Dalos.
"She has so much heart. Her dam was a wonderful mare and she got that from her," Dalos said.