Godolphin Racing’s Girolamo put away Riley Tucker in mid-stretch en route to a decisive victory in the $350,000 Vosburgh Stakes (gr. I) (VIDEO) Oct. 2 at Belmont Park.
It was the first grade I win for the 4-year-old son of A.P. Indy, who now could be set up for a run in the $2 million Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. I) Nov. 6 at Churchill Downs. Saeed bin Suroor trains Girolamo, an even-money favorite when finishing fifth in the Sept. 4 Forego Stakes (gr. I) last out, which was his 2010 debut.
Alan Garcia guided the colt to victory as the 2-1 favorite in the Vosburgh. The final time for six furlongs on the main track was 1:09.41.
Breaking from post 2, Girolamo was steadied a bit going into the turn but was still close to the early pace, which was set by Wall Street Wonder during a :22.56 opening quarter mile. Snapshot and Riley Tucker were also near the lead.
Girolamo took over heading into the stretch, holding a short lead over Riley Tucker after running four furlongs in :45.26. He had a one-length lead at the eighth-pole and methodically inched away from his rival through the final furlong, hitting the wire 2 1/2 lengths in front.
Riley Tucker, with Ramon Dominguez aboard, held off the late-closing Wildcat Brief by a half-length for second.
"When we came around the turn I started looking for a place to get out because I didn’t want to be stuck on the inside," Garcia said "Towards the end of the race he was in hand and just cruising. In the end, he showed his class and won the race."
Girolamo, who ended his 2009 season by finishing 12th in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I), scored his previous biggest win in the Jerome Handicap (gr. I) a year ago at Belmont. This was his third win at the New York racetrack. Overall, he is 5-0-0 from nine starts with earnings of $418,800.
"We got the comeback race in him (in the Forego)," said assistant trainer Rick Mettee. "It wasn’t the race we thought we’d get, but at least we got a comeback race in him. He was spot on from a fitness standpoint today and when (Riley Tucker) challenged him in mid-stretch, he didn’t hang like he did in the Forego.
“I just got off the phone with (bin Suroor) and we have multiple horses possible for the Breeders’ Cup (Dirt) Mile, so a lot depends on what Regal Ransom does tomorrow. We have Gayego, and Vineyard Haven also, but he’s not a Breeders’ Cup nominee, so a lot is going to depend on Regal Ransom in the Kelso (gr. II) tomorrow.”
Girolamo, a dark bay/brown colt, was bred in Kentucky by Ben P. Walden, Philip Steinberg, and WinStar Farm, and is out of the Mr. Prospector mare Get Lucky.
The winner paid $6.20, $4.30, and $3.10. The exacta (2-8) returned $49.80, and the trifecta (2-8-9) was worth $299.