Edited Press Release
Germania Farms’ Gattopardo could be on his way to an appearance in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) after trouncing a solid group of 3-year-olds in the $70,000 Miracle Wood Stakes March 1 at Laurel Park.
Ridden for the first time by jockey Julian Pimentel, the gray colt stalked favored Cave’s Valley through the far turn in the seven-furlong test, then shifted into another gear and galloped away to win by 2 3/4 lengths in 1:24.16. Apple Special rallied to take second, while Cave’s Valley held on for third.
The winner, who is trained by Tim Tullock, paid $5.20. He led off a $31 exacta and a $144.80 trifecta.
“He gave me a pretty good feeling,” Pimentel said. “He made a big move when I asked him to. The main thing was to get him to relax, which Tim told me to do, to rate out of there and make one move, which is what happened. He is a very nice horse.”
Gattopardo was an impressive 4 3/4-length winner against entry level allowance runners Jan. 21 and came into the race off a pair of bullet works since the score.
“I was real happy last time, real happy today,” Tullock said. “Today he improved even more and when Julian asked him to move on up there, he put into gear. It was a tougher race than his last but he responded well. We are happy.”
Cave’s Valley suffered his third consecutive defeat after beginning his career with three straight victories, including a pair of stakes.
Tullock, who conditioned star sprinter Abbondanza for Germania Farms, indicated the son of Johannesburg would likely start in the Bay Shore (gr. III) at Aqueduct April 5. If all goes well he would point towards the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course May 17.
“He is a wonderful horse but needs more time,” added Tullock. “He has not won the route of ground yet. He has run well but all three of his wins are sprinting. I am hopeful he runs well in the Bay Shore and after one more start look at the Preakness.”
Miracle Wood winners Sweetnorthernsaint (2006), Malibu Moonshine (2005) and Water Cannon (2004) all competed in the Preakness.(Chart, Equibase)