Skip Away H. (gr. III)

(gr. III , 9f ,)

GOTTCHA GOLD (B h, 118 lb) $90,000
Coronado's Quest —Gottcha Last , by Pleasant Tap
B—Centaur Farms, Inc., FL.; O—Centaur Farms, Inc. (Heath); T—Edward Plesa, Jr.

Mr. Umphrey (B g, 115 lb) $30,000
Jules —Polish Delight , by Katowice
B—Haras de la Pomme, FL.; O—Four Roses Thoroughbreds; T—Richard E. Dutrow, Jr.

Hunting (CH g, 117 lb) $10,000
Coronado's Quest —Meghan's Joy , by A.P. Indy
B—Stuart S. Janney, III, KY.; O—Stuart S. Janney, III; T—Claude R. McGaughey III

Margins: 3½, 1, ¾. Others: Frost Giant 116($5,000) , Indy Wind 116($3,000) , Better Than Bonds 117($3,000) , Dr. Pleasure 115 , Pop Goes the Tiger 114 . Winning Jockey, Charles C. Lopez.

Gottcha Gold grabbed the third graded stakes win of his career when he defeated Mr. Umphrey by 31/2 lengths March 15 in the Skip Away Handicap (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park.

The victory was the 5-year-old son of Coronado’s Quest’s first stakes win away from Monmouth Park, where he took the Philip H. Iselin Breeders’ Cup and Salvator Mile Handicaps (both gr. III) in 2007 and the Choice and Coronado’s Quest Stakes in 2006.

“This win is especially important,” said trainer Edward Plesa Jr. “First, it puts away the idea that he is ‘Monmouth only,’ and he accomplished it going a mile-and-an-eighth. It also helps you forget about the trip to California where nothing went right. We’ll take him back to Monmouth this summer. It’s a great place to be and leaves you lots of options to ship to important stakes anywhere in the Northeast.”

Gottcha Gold came into the Skip Away off the worst race of his career when he finished ninth by 153/4 lengths Jan. 26 in the $1-million Sunshine Millions Classic Stakes at Santa Anita. In addition to his stakes wins at Monmouth, Gottcha Gold has run second in three other stakes races at the track, including last year’s inaugural Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.

Plesa conditions the homebred bay horse for Vern Heath’s Centaur Farms. Gottcha Gold was foaled at Diane Dudley’s Dudley Farm near Ocala, Fla., and received his early training at Michael O’Farrell’s Ocala Stud Farm.

Heath bought Gottcha Gold’s dam, the stakes-winning Pleasant Tap mare Gottcha Last, for $220,000 at the 2002 Keeneland January mixed sale from Walnut Green, agent for Christiana Stables. She was bred to Coronado’s Quest that spring, and Gottcha Gold is her first foal.

Out of the winning Elocutionist mare Temper the Wind, Gottcha Last is a half-sister to grade III winner Stem the Tide and stakes winners Private Jet and Private Gold.

Gottcha Gold is Gottcha Last’s only foal to race. Her 2006 foal by Trippi died, and she has a yearling filly by Trippi. Gottcha Last was barren to Montbrook for this year. Currently at Three Chimneys Farm, the 11-year-old mare is in foal to Awesome Again for 2009.

Coronado’s Quest is the sire of 14 stakes winners. The son of Forty Niner died in March 2006 from heart failure after covering a mare at the Japan Bloodhorse Breeders’ Association’s Shizunai Stallion Station. He was 11.—A.H.D.