by Karen M. Johnson
Go Go Shoot misbehaved in the starting gate but was all business when the gates opened and cruised home a 3 1/2-length winner of the $81,725 Jimmy Winkfield Stakes on a frigid afternoon at Aqueduct Jan. 21.
Law N Dora, the 8-5 favorite ridden by Ramon Dominguez, finished second and was followed under the wire by second choice Accredit, who was two lengths behind the runner-up. Holidaze, All Expenses Paid, and Handsome Reward completed the order of finish in the six-furlong inner-track race for 3-year-olds. Laysh Laysh Laysh was scratched.
While in the gate, Go Go Shoot broke through the starting barrier and unseated jockey Alan Garcia, who landed on his feet. Five men from the starting gate crew then urged a reluctant Go Go Shoot back into the gate.
Go Go Shoot quickly shot to the early lead and was pressed by All Expenses Paid from the rail and Law N Dora from the outside. All Expenses Paid appeared to lack room from his inside position and backed off down the backstretch. At the quarter pole, Go Go Shoot held the lead and opened the advantage in the stretch with urging from Garcia’s whip. Garcia, who won the Jan. 19 Aqueduct Handicap aboard Angliana, peeked back a couple of times to check on the competition, which never came.
Go Go Shoot completed the distance in 1:10.18 following fractions of :22.59, :45.57, and :57.48 on a fast track.
“At the top of the stretch I had a lot of horse left,” Garcia said. “He warmed up perfect, broke perfect, and ran perfect. It was a good trip for my horse.”
Owned by former Duke basketball star Bobby Hurley, Go Go Shoot, the longest price in the field, returned $21.80 to win. The exacta paid $77.50 and the trifecta $235.50.
Trained by Jim Ryerson, Go Go Shoot is a son of Songandprayer, who Hurley campaigned with his wife, Leslie, after buying him for $1 million at auction in 2000. Hurley bred Go Go Shoot in the name of Devil Eleven Stable, named for the number on his jersey when he played for Duke, known as the Blue Devils. Go Go Shoot, a Florida-bred, is out of Sailor Pluto, a daughter of You and I.
The Winkfield was Go Go Shoot’s first stakes win. The colt easily won his career debut in the slop at Meadowlands Nov. 10 and followed with a fourth-place finish in the Dec. 12 Capote Stakes at Aqueduct.
“He ran big as a maiden in the slop,” Ryerson said. “I don’t know if he was really right the last time (at Aqueduct Dec. 12). It looked like we were going to be second in deep stretch and he finished fourth, so it wasn’t that bad a performance.
“This was a pleasant surprise. We’ll talk with Bobby Hurley and see what will be next for him. Hopefully, it will be here.”
With his win in the Winkfield, Go Go Shoot boosted his earnings to $73,273 on a record of two wins and a fourth in three starts.