The 3-year-old son of Bien Bien won Friday's $78,000 Sir Beaufort in nearly wire-to-wire fashion after it was moved to the main track.
"He used to get so nervous because he couldn't breathe so well," Gonzalez said. "But after the surgery (to repair a paralyzed epiglottis) he's relaxed a lot. I was very impressed with his race yesterday because (jockey Corey Nakatani) had to send him from (his post position) on the rail and get in position early. He went fast and held on well at the wire. It was a really good ride by Corey, too."
Kentucky-bred Buckland Manor, produced by the Shadeed mare Bags of Pace, has now won convincingly on both turf and dirt. After scoring in his two previous grass starts in impressive fashion, Gonzalez was more than pleased with the chestnut's dirt stakes win and the increased stakes possibilities.
"There're so many more opportunities for dirt horses this time of year," Gonzalez said. "We could run him in the San Fernando (a grade II on Jan. 10) but it's too soon for him. So we'll probably wait and run him in the Strub if he's ready. We can always go back to the turf with him later in the year, too."
Overall Buckland Manor has won four of his eight career starts, with a second and a third, for earnings of $154,320. The Sir Beaufort was his first black-type victory.