San Carlos Too Easy for Georgie Boy
by Jack Shinar
Date Posted: 2/21/2009 6:07:12 PM
Last Updated: 2/22/2009 5:22:05 PM
Odds-on choice Georgie Boy turned the $150,000 San Carlos Handicap (gr. II) (VIDEO) into a procession at Santa Anita Park Feb. 21 with a long sustained move from off the pace in the seven-furlong event.
Allowed to chase a slow pace by jockey Garrett Gomez from off the rail, Georgie Boy, closing on the far outside, took command in upper stretch. He ducked in a bit in the homestretch but quickly straightened out to finish a widening 2 3/4 lengths in front of Halo Najib. The final time was 1:21.85 over the Pro-Ride racing surface.
Racing in the Trojan colors of owner/breeder George Schwary, Georgie Boy made Kathy Walsh the first female trainer to win the San Carlose in 71 renewals. The grade I winner Georgie Boy was coming off a 2 1/4-length win in the Sunshine Millions Sprint Jan. 24. A grade I winner at 2, the 4-year-old Tribal Rule gelding missed more than seven months of action last year with back problems, but now seems better than ever.
“It’s been very important for him to relax the last two races," Walsh noted. "It just took him a while to settle when he came back. He became a little fresh. With no pace in the race, it makes it a little tough for Garrett. He tried to get him to settle back, and then there’s no pace, he has to let him go. It’s much better if he sits still on him and try to make the one run. Today, he had no option."
Asked what's next, Walsh said, "I think he’ll stretch out, especially with Garrett riding him. He gets him to settle right away.”
Just six competed in the San Carlos and with the field lacking a true speed horse, it was Yankee Bravo who took control of the pace after an even break. Yankee Bravo, making his first start since last year's Preakness Stakes (gr. I), clocked a slow opening quarter mile of :23.25 but was pulling Alex Solis through a half-mile in :45.25. Yankee Bravo was through by the quarter pole, though, as Halo Najib, Pass the Point and Georgie Boy surged by as a team.
Halo Najib, ridden by Rafael Bejarano, had a narrow advantage at the top of the stretch, but he could not match strides with Georgie Boy, who straightened under a couple of left-handed taps from Gomez after seizing the lead mid-stretch. Georgie Boy finished under a brisk hand ride.
“He was very workmanlike today," Gomez said. "He’s a better horse when he can sit back and settle like we did. I was glad to see Solis’ horse (Yankee Bravo) get rank and take off like he did, that made my job easier.
"I squeezed him a little at the top of the lane and he responded like it was a morning breeze. When we made the lead, I got into him a little bit just to keep him focused, to keep him from pulling himself up.”
Halo Najib finished second by 1 1/4 lengths over Pass the Point, who was between horses in the drive for Joel Rosario.
Georgie Boy won the Del Mar Futurity (gr. I) to complete his 2-year-old campaign and began the 2008 season with wins in the San Vicente (gr. II) and San Felipe (gr. II) stakes before going to the sidelines. He began the current Santa Anita meet with a third-place finish in the Malibu Stakes (gr. I) on opening day. The dark bay ran his career mark to 6-2-2 in 11 starts with earnings of $788,634. The San Carlos victory was worth $90,000.
Georgie Boy, who paid $3, $2.40 and $2.10, is out of the Peterhof mare Ippodamia. He carried high weight of 120 pounds.
Halo Najib, in his second start for trainer Mike Mitchell, returned $5 and $3 and completed a $2 exacta worth $15. Pass the Point, making his first one-turn try since breaking his maiden at Churchill Downs in May 2007, was $2.80 to show for trainer Eoin Harty.
Star Nicholas, Mutadda (who broke slowly) and Yankee Bravo trailed.
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