Social Queen went from last to first and defeated All Is Vanity by a head in a thrilling photo finish in the $100,000 Gallorette Handicap (gr. IIIT) (VIDEO) at Pimlico May 16. It was her first victory since winning the Eatontown Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Monmouth Park last June.
All Is Vanity was close up early in the Gallorette, as Viva La Flag set fractions of :23.90, :48.58, and 1:12.24 in the 1 1/16-mile turf contest. The French-bred filly took the lead down the stretch, only to be caught in the final strides by late-running Social Queen, who was ridden by Rafael Bejarano. They hit the wire in 1:41.84 on the firm going. Tejida finished 2 1/4 lengths farther back in third, while Viva La Flag held on for fourth.
“I knew I was going to win, because I still had a lot of horse," Bejarano said. "My horse made a big, big run. In the last couple jumps, I knew I was going to win – not for sure, though, because the other horse was still running, too. My horse put her head in front at the wire.”
Alan Goldberg trains Social Queen for Richard Santulli. The 5-year-old Dynaformer mare came into the race off a third-place finish in the Beaugay Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Belmont Park May 2 over a good turf course.
“We thought she was going to run well, but we weren’t sure there was enough pace in the race," said Barry Weisbord, who is part-owner of the winner. "As it turned out, they didn’t run that fast on the front end, so he (Bejarano) wanted to drop her to the back and come wide, and she ran them down.”
Sent off at 9-1, Social Queen paid $20.20, $7.80, and $4.60. All Is Vanity returned $3.80 and $3, while Tejida paid $3.60. The exacta was worth $67.40, and the trifecta paid $284.60.
Odds-on favorite Dynaforce, who was making her first start since finishing off the board in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (gr. IT) last October, was fifth. Royalties and Shytoe Lafeet rounded out the field. Quiet Meadow scratched.
James English and Hermitage Farm bred Social Queen in Kentucky out of the stakes-winning Irgun mare Gal On the Go. She is now 6-1-4 from 17 starts with earnings of $321,847.