B.J. Wright's Jeranimo turned in an explosive rally from the back to win the Grade 1, $300,000 Shoemaker Mile by 1 1/4 lengths at Hollywood Park on Saturday. Trailing the field entering the stretch, the six-year-old circled his rivals under Garrett Gomez to score an 8-1 upset in a time of 1:33 4/5 on firm turf. Jeranimo paid $19.60, $8.40 and $4.
"This is a hard-trying horse. He and I get along pretty well," Gomez said. "We had a good trip today. We just wound him up and made one little run with him. It was the right kind of race to do that. He's been training really well. The guys have been doing a really good job with him. He actually ran a winning race last time but just had a little bad luck. I just let him find himself early on in the race and he came home like I thought he would."
Suggestive Boy, a budding superstar in his native Argentina with four Group 1 wins in six outings, ran a creditable second for trainer Ron McAnally in his U.S. debut. The four-year-old, making his first start since October, rallied from midpack to land second by a half-length over 8-5 favorite Little Mike.
"This is a serious horse," jockey Joe Talamo said. "He definitely needed the race, coming off a layoff. But to do that in a Grade 1 like that, he's going to be a real nice horse. Distance wise, he can run all day. He couldn't have had a better trip. We tucked in right behind Martin (Garcia on Liberian Freighter) and on the turn when (Rafael) Bejarano (aboard Corporate Jungle) moved out, it gave us a perfect trip. If he moves forward off this, we could have some fun with him."
Little Mike attempted to steal his second top-level event of the year following last month's Woodford Reserve Turf Classic. However, he was under steady pressure from Liberian Freighter through splits of :23 2/5, :46 2/5 and 1:09 4/5, and could not keep up the pace to the wire. He finished a neck in front of second choice of Mr. Commons, with Corporate Jungle, Dubai You X Y Z, Hudson Landing and Liberian Freighter completing the order of finish.
The Shoemaker Mile was the fifth graded stakes tally for Jeranimo, who previously won the Grade 2 Strub and Grade 2 San Gabriel in 2010, and the Grade 2 Oak Tree Mile and Grade 2 Citation Handicap last fall. He's placed in six other graded events, including Grade 1 editions of the Frank E. Kilroe Mile and Eddie Read. In his three earlier starts this season, Jeranimo ran second in the San Gabriel, fourth in the Kilroe Mile, and a fast-closing second to Hudson Landing in the Grade 3 San Francisco Mile. He's racing's newest millionaire with earnings of $1,068,400 from a line of 28-8-6-4.
"(Trainer Mike) Pender's in Europe. He and his wife took a vacation," Wright revealed. "Miguel and Ernesto, Pender's key men, saddled the horse.
"We have the home field advantage now. This is a 'Win and You're In' and the Breeders' Cup is going to be held at Santa Anita. I like that home field advantage (for the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Mile on November 3). And we have Gomez. It can't get much better than that."
Bred in Florida by Brylynn Farm, the son of Congaree was produced by the stakes-winning Jeblar mare Jera. Also hailing from this family are Grade 1 winners First Samurai and A Huevo, and Grade 2 winner Kantharos and O'Prado Again.