Lightly-raced Pomeroys Pistol took the rail to a front-running 14-1 upset win in the $200,000 Forward Gal Stakes (gr. II), (VIDEO) outlasting favorite Dancinginherdreams by three-quarters of a length at Gulfstream Park Jan. 30.
The seven-furlong test for 3-year-old fillies was also the first start of the season for 2010 Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) runner-up R Heat Lightning, who finished fourth.
Ridden by Paco Lopez for trainer Amy Tarrant, her Hardacre Farm's Florida homebred Pomeroys Pistol disposed of pace rival Third Chance turning for home and opened a big lead in the lane after the field fanned out for the drive. The daughter of Pomeroy—Prettyatthetable, by Point Given, led by 3 1/2 lengths at the eighth pole.
Dancinginherdreams, by Tapit out of Mayan Milagra, by Menifee, had the worst of it after being angled to the far outside rounding the bend by jockey Julien Leparoux and lost several lengths. But she charged down the homestretch strongly only to come up short of Pomeroys Pistol, who won under right-handed urging from Lopez despite drifting out late in a time of 1:22.89 on a fast track.
"She was getting a little tired at the end and I knew (Dancinginherdreams) was coming, but she held on,” Lopez said.
The runner-up, who was slightly favored over R Heat Lightning, both at odds of 13-10, was 3 1/2 lengths clear of the late-closing longshot Evil Queen. The 82-1 shot, last in the field of seven to the three-eighths pole, edged a tiring R Heat Lightning for third by a neck.
Pomeroys Pistol, dueling along the inside, battled to the mid-point on the turn with Third Chance, who led narrowly through swift quarter-mile fractions of :22.34 and :44.69.
The winning filly started the year with a good second to the promising Final Mesa in Gulfstream's Old Hat Stakes (gr. III) over six furlongs at 34-1 odds Jan. 5. Pomeroys Pistol broke her maiden in her debut last September at Monmouth Park, won for the second time in five career starts and boosted her earnings to $188,990 with the winner's share of $120,000.
“I was concerned that there wasn’t enough time between her last race and this one and considered waiting for the Davona Dale (gr. II),” said Tarrant, the owner and breeder, as well as trainer, of the winner. “Now we’ll see how she comes out of this one before deciding on the Davona Dale (Feb. 26).
"I was concerned when she ended up on the lead, but from the one or two post you are pretty much committed," she added. "Paco has ridden her before, knows her, and knew she had plenty left. This is very special as my first homebred to win a graded stakes. I’ve had other homebreds win races, but not a graded stakes.”
The winner shouldered 116 pounds and paid $20.40, $6.80 and $4.60 as the distant third choice. She topped an $80.60 exacta. John Oxley's grade II winner Dancinginherdreams, who suffered her first loss in three lifetime starts for trainer John Ward Jr., returned $3 and $2.40. Evil Queen, ridden by Jeffrey Sanchez for trainer Stanley Gold, was $8.40 to show and completed a $1 trifecta worth $623.50.
"It was a very good race for her first race off the shelf," Ward said of the runner-up, who had not been out since winning the Pocahontas Stakes (gr. II) at Churchill Downs Oct. 31. "She probably made up 3 ½ lengths on the winner in the final eighth of a mile. She just ran out of racetrack.”
R Heat Lightning, the 122-pound top weight, was followed by Third Chance, Devilish Lady and Alexandra Rylee.