Gamay Noir, plucked from the claiming ranks earlier this year, struck for a last-to-first triumph in $150,000 Obeah Stakes (gr. III) June 14 at Delaware Park, earning her second graded stakes win (VIDEO).
Daniel Centeno angled Chasing Tail Stable's Gamay Noir six wide around the final turn and the 4-year-old Harlan's Holiday filly fought out the finish with determined runner-up Montana Native to prevail by a half-length.
Gamay Noir was timed in 1:51.22 for 1 1/8 miles on a fast track. She was rebounding from a third-place finish in the Sixty Sails Handicap (gr. III) April 19 at Hawthorne Racecourse. In her start immediately prior to that March 29, Gamay Noir posted a 49-1 upset victory in the Rampart Stakes (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park. The bay filly was not off at such long odds in the Obeah, leaving the gate as the 7-2 second favorite with Golden Production, who raced with the winner as part of a coupled entry in a sixth-place finish.
Centeno bided his time with Gamay Noir, settling her last of eight for the opening half mile after breaking from post 7.
After the start, Daydreamin Gracie, the longest shot on the board at 35-1, disputed the lead with Montana Native, keeping only a half-length advantage from that rival through fractions of :24.52 and :49.78 for the half. With only her head in front after six furlongs in 1:13.67, Daydreamin Gracie started to sputter as Gamay Noir began her advance. The winner ultimately proved too strong for Montana Native, who was game to the final strides for Julian Pimentel.
Always within striking distance was Ambusher, who was fourth in early stretch and quickly closed ground to pass 2-1 favorite Zucchini Flower and take third, only a head behind Montana Native. Zucchini Flower was 1 1/4 lengths farther back in fourth.
The Obeah is the local prep stakes for the July 12 Delaware Handicap (gr. I). The race is named after the 1969 and 1970 winner of the Delaware Handicap who is the dam of the Hall of Fame filly Go for Wand. Both were campaigned by legendary Christiana Stables.
Trainer Marty Wolfson enjoyed a second win in the Obeah. He conditioned Miss Singhsix for victory in the 2010 edition of the race before she placed second to Life At Ten in the Delaware Handicap. Wolfson also saddled Icon Project to second-place finish to Swift Temper in the 2009 Del 'Cap.
Gamay Noir has a 5-0-5 record from 17 career starts and earnings of $301,866.
Bred in Kentucky by Fares Farm out of the winning Unbridled mare Uncork, Gamay Noir was a $15,000 purchase from her breeder's complete dispersal, handled by Lane's End, at the 2013 Keeneland January horses of all ages sale. She raced for Crumbaugh Lane and trainer Kellyn Gorder through her first 11 starts, then was snapped up by Wolfson and Chasing Tail Stables for $100,000 out of a third-place finish in a one-mile allowance/optional claiming race Jan. 29 at Gulfstream.
Carrying top weight of 124 pounds, Gamay Noir paid 9.20, $4.40 and $2.80 while Montana Native, toting 120 pounds, returned $4.80 and $3.60. Ambusher, under a 119 impost, paid $4.80 to show.