(Edited Team Valor International press release)
Team Valor International and Gary Barber's Gitano Hernando, who is being prepared for the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) by trainer Marco Botti in England, easily won his 3-year-old debut March 29, going a mile and a quarter on turf at Doncaster.
A son of Hernando, Gitano Hernando came from well back to triumph by 2 1/2 lengths while making his first start since breaking his maiden on an all weather surface last year. He earned a 99 Timeform rating.
Botti is pointing Gitano Hernando for the Dee Stakes in mid-May and will not decide for a couple of weeks whether to give the chestnut colt a race between his Doncaster victory and the stakes at Chester.
"Marco had prepared the colt to run last week in the Kentucky Derby Trial Stakes at Kempton on the all-weather track, but he was the only entrant not to get into the race,” said Team Valor’s Barry Irwin. “This win certainly erases some of the disappointment from that lost opportunity.
"We like the Dee Stakes as a prep for the Belmont because it is run on the circular course at Chester, which may be the most American-like of the English race courses. The race usually is run like an American race in terms of style and the timing. Coming right after the Kentucky Derby (Presented By Yum! Brands, gr. I), it is good for a horse pointing for the third leg of the Triple Crown in America."