Georgie Boy Gallops in San Vicente
Photo: Benoit
Georgie Boy and Rafael Bejarano roll in the San Vicente.
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Making his first start in more than five months, grade I winner Georgie Boy kicked off his 3-year-old campaign in fine style with a big closing rush to win the $147,000 San Vicente Stakes (gr. II) (VIDEO).

Ridden for the first time by Rafael Bejarano, Georgie Boy sat slightly off an honest pace before galloping home on the outside to defeat favored Into Mischief by 3 1/4 lengths. Massive Drama finished third. The final time for the seven-furlong event for sophomores was an outstanding 1:20.01 on the renovated Cushion Track/Pro-Ride Racing synthetic surface.

“We had two horses to beat and they both had speed, so I was able to sit in behind them," Bejarano said. "I wanted to be close and, when I turned him loose, he just took off. He’s a super horse.”

Questions remain to be answered for the Tribal Rule gelding who is yet to race a two-turn distance in six starts. The Del Mar Futurity (gr. I) winner stood at 69-1 as odds closed for the opening pool of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager Feb. 10. The San Vicente was run after that wager's four-day pool was wrapped up.

Regardless, the dark bay with the big closing kick has been impressive so far. He came from out of the clouds to capture the Del Mar Futurity on Polytrack over seven furlongs Sept. 5 and seemed every bit as sharp, maybe more so, in the San Vicente.

Kathy Walsh trains Georgie Boy for Southern California owner and breeder George Schwary.

"If anything, the time off gave him some time to let him grow and mature. I ran him three times (as a 2-year-old) at Del Mar and for a horse that gives you so much, you want to give him a chance," Walsh said. "He gave his heart every time he ran, and I thought he just needed a rest. He had nothing wrong with him, and Mr. Schwary has been marvelous about letting me do whatever I wanted with the horse.”

Walsh said afterward that they are on the Derby trail with Georgie Boy, and the gelding is nominated to the $200,000 Rebel Stakes (gr. II) at 1 1/16 miles at Oaklawn Park March 15.

Just four contested the San Vicente, which lost Cardinal Zin to a scratch. Things went pretty much as expected as Massive Drama and Garrett Gomez tugged their way to the front while getting pressure on the outside from Into Mischief, winner of the CashCall Futurity (gr. I) at Hollywood Park in his last start Dec. 22 for trainer Richard Mandella. Fractions were solid -- :23.28 and :45.27 -- as Georgie Boy, breaking from the rail, pulled early but sat in a ground-saving spot, closer than usual, at the back of the tight field.

Georgie Boy moved up along the inside on the turn and angled out three paths wide for the drive, challenging the leaders approaching the eighth pole. He finished most impressively under a drive.

"He was a little rank at first, but he ran a nice race," Walsh said, noting how anxious Georgie Boy was prior to the race after his long layoff.

Into Mischief, the 11-10 choice ridden by Victor Espinoza, finished willingly for second by one length over Massive Drama. Red Hot Flame stalked the pace for a half-mile before falling out to last.

Sent off as the third choice in a short field, Georgie Boy paid $7.80 and $3.20.

Into Mischief, now with two wins and two runner-up finishes in four starts, returned $2.60.

"He tries hard, and it’s been a long time since he has run," said Espinoza, who has been aboard Into Mischief for each of the Harlan's Holiday colt's starts. "I think it was a good race for him, and that he will be ready for the next.”

The winner's share of $90,000 boosted Georgie Boy's bankroll to $376,806. He owns a 3-2-1 record in six starts, including a win in the Graduation Stakes over Cal-breds to break his maiden at Del Mar last July.

Georgie Boy is out of the Peterhof mare Ippodamia. Schwary said the dam is in foal once again to Tribal Rule and will be bred to 2007 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Street Sense after that.

"We're going to go for the big casino," Schwary said.

(Chart, Equibase)

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