Back on June 23, Gottcha Gold defeated Lawyer Ron by a neck in the Salvator Mile Handicap (gr. III) at Monmouth Park. Of course, that victory looked even better a month later, when Lawyer Ron went on to set the nine-furlong Saratoga track record in the Whitney Handicap (gr. I).
Bettors apparently considered Gottcha Gold’s performance that day a fluke, as they let the son of Coronado's Quest go off at odds of 15-1 in the $300,000 Philip H. Iselin Breeders’ Cup Handicap (gr. III) (VIDEO) at Monmouth Aug. 18. Those who stayed loyal to Gottcha Gold were rewarded handsomely, as the 4-year-old colt blew past his seven rivals to take the 1 1/8-mile route in convincing fashion.
Trained by Edward Plesa, Gotccha Gold set the early pace, along with Barcola, running the opening quarter in :23.07. The two dueled through the first six furlongs, with Barcola eventually nudging in front after a half-mile, until jockey Chuckie Lopez asked Gottcha Gold for more as they approached the final turn. The Florida-bred responded emphatically, putting Barcola – and the rest of the field – in the dust, drawing clear to win by four-and-a-half lengths in a time of 1:48.36.
Gottcha Gold has won five of his eight lifetime races at Monmouth.
“Needless to say the race unfolded like I hoped," said Plesa. "Chuckie rode an outstanding race and this horse ran an outstanding race. He showed another dimension today, that he doesn’t need the lead. I never thought he should’ve been 15-1. No matter how he did it, he beat a great horse last time (Lawyer Ron in the Grade 3 Salvator Mile). I thought he was dismissed today.
"He just loves New Jersey. He was our first stakes winner up at Monmouth. We’ll definitely look at the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, no doubt about that. I might sit still on him until then. He likes the surface and I’m not sure he’ll need a race between now and then.”
It was the fourth career stakes win for Gottcha Gold, who has now won seven lifetime races for owner-breeder Centaur Farms Inc. He paid $32.20, $13.80 and $7.80.
Brother Bobby rallied for second, filling out a $308.80 exacta (2-4), while Indy Wind overtook betting favorite Master Command for third.
Master Command, who had won three graded stakes this year and earned more than $1.1 million in his career, finished fourth after going four-wide but having no response in the stretch.