(Edited news release)
Trainer Michael Matz said that Gotham winner Visionaire appears to have come out of his March 8 Gotham Stakes (gr. III) victory in good shape, and will ship back to Palm Meadows in Florida March 11.
“I couldn’t see much of the race on TV because of the fog,” Matz said. “I was extremely pleased with the race considering where he came from.”
Visionaire trailed early over the sloppy track and appeared about seven lengths behind turning for home. When the field emerged from the fog in the stretch, Texas Wildcatter had a big lead, but was run down late by the son of Grand Slam.
The Gotham was Visionaire’s third career victory and his first stakes tally. He was third behind next-out Louisiana Derby (gr. II) winner Pyro in his last start in the Risen Star (gr. III). Visionaire’s graded stakes earnings are now $180,000, which Matz thought would probably be good enough to get him into the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
“We’ll wait and see how he is when he gets back to Florida before deciding on his next start,” Matz said. “He seems to run best with four to five weeks between races.”
If Matz decided to run Visionaire in the $750,000 Wood Memorial (gr. I) April 5, that would give the colt four weeks off, as well as four weeks between the Wood and the Kentucky Derby. Other Derby preps on April 5 are the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) and Illinois Derby (gr. II).
Meanwhile, previously unbeaten Giant Moon exited his last-place finish in the Gotham in good shape, according to trainer Rick Schosberg. Schosberg said Giant Moon struggled mightily over the extremely sloppy inner track.
“Ramon (Dominguez) did an excellent job protecting him, just getting him around there safely,” Schosberg said. “He wasn’t getting a hold of the track whatsoever. We learned a little something about the horse yesterday, and I’m thankful we had a good, smart rider on his back.”
Not surprisingly, Schosberg said the Gotham was both a non-effort and a throw out for Giant Moon.
“He was trying to grab a hold of everybody at the barn this morning,” Schosberg said. “His legs were ice cold and he ate up tight. His energy level is through the roof.”
Despite finishing ninth, Schosberg said his horse would probably start next in either the Wood Memorial or Illinois Derby.
“We’ll come up with a plan over the next week or so,” Schosberg said.