Mike Tarp's Go Maggie Go, making just her second career start, galloped clear of heavy favorite Off the Tracks and the grade I-winning Gomo to win the $250,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks (gr. II). The daughter of Ghostzapper covered the 1 1/16 miles over a sealed-good track 1:43.74.
Go Maggie Go made her debut March 13, winning a six-furlong maiden special weight at Gulfstream Park by four lengths. She stretched out and stepped up April 2 in the 50th running of the Oaks.
"She's just quality, and when they're doing as good as her and they're the quality she is, you can run in an 'one-other-than' and win by 15 and say why didn't I run in a stakes?," said winning trainer Dale Romans. "There was only seven horses in here. If you run third you're worth a lot of money. If she can do that, she can win so why not be here? We can always back up for a $50,000 pot.
"She had one start, sprinting, so going two turns the first time you would expect to be close to the pace. Anytime you have speed, that's another reason for running."
Go Maggie Go finished 2 1/4 lengths clear of runner-up Paola Queen in the Oaks under Luis Saez, who was winning his second race on the Florida Derby day program. The unbeaten Off the Tracks, the 4-5 favorite in the seven-horse field, was a half-length back in third. It was another 5 1/2 lengths back to Gomo, who was followed by Double Entendre, Mo' Green, and Hold on Momma.
Sent off the third choice, Go Maggie Go paid $10, $4.60 and $2.60. Paola Queen paid $5.60 and $2.80 while Off the Tracks paid $2.20. The $2 exacta, 3-1, paid $37.
Paola Queen broke on top from her slot on the rail and set the tempo while being tracked by Go Maggie Go and Hold on Momma. Off the Tracks was in fourth early on while well off the rail. Through an opening quarter-mile in :23.09 and half-mile in :46.70 Double Entendre, Mo' Green, and Gomo trailed.
Off the Tracks came with a wide move around the bend to engage Go Maggie Go once Paola Queen gave way, but Go Maggie Go had plenty left in the tank through six furlongs in 1:11.16. She drew clear through the lane, getting the mile in 1:37.02 and closed with a :06.72 final sixteenth.
Go Maggie Go is the seventh foal out of Magibel, by Tale of the Cat . Magibel is also the dam of Wallyanna (by Langfuhr ), winner of the 2014 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes (gr. IIT) and Pimlico's James. W. Murphy Stakes.
Romans indicated after the race he would point Go Maggie Go toward the May 6 Longines Kentucky Oaks (gr. I).
In the Gulfstream Oaks, Off the Tracks was making her first start for trainer Todd Pletcher. Patricia and Maurice Regan's Newtown Anner Stud purchased a majority interest in the filly following her 4 1/4-length victory in the Feb. 21 Margate Handicap at 6 1/2 furlongs at Gulfstream Park. Sidelined with a knee injury, that was her first outing since taking the Schuylerville Stakes (gr. III) last summer at Saratoga Race Course.
Off the Tracks, bred in Kentucky by Lee McMillin, is by Curlin out of Harve de Grace, by Boston Harbor. She previously raced solely for J Stables and trainer Roderick Rodriguez.
"I thought she ran OK," said Pletcher. "(Jockey) Johnny (Velazquez) thought she didn't really handle the muddy surface that well. She put in a pretty good move on the turn and then kind of flattened out a little bit. I thought that considering it was her first time in the slop and around two turns that it was credible, but Johnny felt she really didn't like the wet surface."
Reddam Racing's Gomo was making her first start since taking Keeneland's Darley Alcibiades Stakes (gr. I) last October. By Uncle Mo , out of Gentle Audrey, by Elusive Quality, Gomo also placed in the Del Mar's Sorrento Stakes (gr. II) and the Del Mar Juvenile Fillies Turf Stakes. She was bred in Kentucky by John Liviakis.
"I thought she ran dynamite off the layoff," said trainer Doug O'Neill of Gomo's effort. "To run fourth in the Florida Oaks is sensational off the layoff. The track was heavy, so I thought she ran great. This race will really tighten her up for the Kentucky Oaks. We'll plan for that and play it by ear."