Gallant Son Takes Charge in Inglewood 'Cap
It was the fifth stakes win overall for Chris and Diane Randall's 4-year-old son of Malabar Gold. Trained by Frank Lucarelli, the colt began his career in Washington before relocating in Southern California prior to his seventh-place finish in the 2008 Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) at Santa Anita.
Gallant Son no doubt benefited from the scratch by trainer Marty Jones of the heavy morning-line favorite Compari due to a sore foot. The other strong entrant in the field, grade II winner Monterey Jazz, also scratched after he ran in the San Francisco Mile (gr. IIT) at Golden Gate Fields a day earlier and finished second.
Those defections left Gallant Son, 15-1 on the morning line, as the 3-1 second choice in the reduced field of nine, behind the narrow 3-1 choice Acclamation.
Gallant Son got a break when the three horses to his inside—Acclamation, Rummysecret War and Red Alert Day—sprinted away from the starting gate toward the clubhouse turn, making it easy for jockey Mike Smith to slide Gallant Son over while settling into fourth place early. The early fractions were hot—:22.64, :45.42 and 1:09.28—as Rummysecret War led Red Alert Day and Acclamation dropped back a bit.
Approaching the quarter pole, both Acclamation and Gallant Son made early bids. Gallant Son, four wide coming into the stretch, grabbed the advantage and kicked clear to lead by two lengths with a furlong to run. He came home under urging by Smith 1 3/4 lengths in front of the late-running 29-1 shot Quindici Man in a sparkling time of 1:39.67.
"It set up great," Smith said. "I was going to try and cut the corner but I knew that Acclamation, the horse that (Joe) Talamo was on, always gives a good kick and I didn't want to get myself in a pickle. I felt like I was on the best horse so I just stayed clear, and he did the rest. They were smoking up front. It worked out great for us."
Alsonso Quinonez rode Quindici Man, who edged 21-1 Glowing Praise and Brice Blanc by a half-length for second. Acclamation ran fourth, followed by Lease of Life, Great Siege, Dark Islander, Red Alert Day and Rummysecret War.
Gallant Son was coming off a close fourth-place finish in Santa Anita's Potrero Grande Handicap (gr. II), a main-track sprint held April 3. He ended a six-race losing streak while earning $60,000 for the Inglewood win, his first victory since taking the Pasadena Stakes against 3-year-olds on the Santa Anita grass more than a year ago.
"He can hang a little, but he went on with it today," Lucarelli said. "I was a little worried, but around the eighth pole I looked back and I didn't see anybody coming.
"We've been really trying to get him back on turf for quite a while," the trainer added. "This race probably confirmed that he's a notch above on turf what he is on the dirt. We really weren't considering anything but I guess the Shoemaker is a possibility now."
The $250,000 Shoemaker Mile (gr.IT) will be run on May 31 at Hollywood Park.
Tony Holmes and Highclere bred the winning dark bay or brown colt in Kentucky. Gallant Son is out of Explicitly, by Exploit.
Gallant Son improved his career mark to 6-2-0 in 16 starts while banking $262,898. He has done well in limited tries on the turf, with two victories and a second in three races. The Inglewood was his debut at Hollywood Park.
Quindici Man was cutting back in distance and changing surfaces from his last start for trainer Craig Lewis, a fifth in the 12-furlong Tokyo City Cup Handicap (gr. III) at Santa Anita. He returned $17.80 and $9.60 for his late-running effort.
The Great Britain-bred Glowing Praise was in the money for the first time in three U.S. starts and was $11.80 to show for trainer Eoin Harty.
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