It looks like Ted Pletcher and WinStar Farms have another shot at Derby fame, as they’ll send forward the 5-for-5 undefeated Gemologist come the first Saturday in May. Gemologist ran a stalking trip, taking command as they turned from home, to then be passed late by Alpha, only to come roaring back. This guys seems to have heart, something we all know is necessary in the 20-horse fielded Kentucky Derby!
Trainer Doug O’Neill and CashCall’s Paul Reddam won the 2012 Santa Anita Derby with lesser known jockey Mario Gutierrez, holding off favored Creative Cause to win the $750,000 purse. Reddam had shipped 6-bus loads of employees from the lending company he runs for an office track party. You can only imagine how rambunctious the winner’s circle was with all those people present!
JP’s Gusto pulled well clear of the full field of 2-year olds on Del Mar’s closing day, romping home in the $250,000 Del Mar Futurity. Much his best race so far, he overcame many skeptics that had him pegged as a short distance sprinter, stating that 7-furlongs might be the upper bounds of his distance range.
This win secured JP’s Gusto the reputation as the best 2-year old male in California, and with the recent retirement of Kantharos, possibly the best in the nation. JP’s Gusto dueled the lead for the first 5-furlongs before kicking clear at the top of the stretch under jockey Patrick Valenzuela. The late running Jaycito, under Martin Garica, finished 4 1/2 lengths back in second. Riveting Reason and Indian Water finished dead heat for 3rd, another 3 1/4 lengths back.
“He’s so smart. Around the turn, with the horse lapped on him, he was waiting for Patrick,” said David Hofmans, who trains J P’s Gusto, and was the trainer of HorseRacingInside.com’s very first thoroughbred. “That’s what he does – he waits for the rider. He was just galloping, waiting for Patrick to give him his cue.”
It will be interesting to see how he’ll do in his next scheduled start, the Norfolk Stakes at the Oak Tree meeting at Hollywood Park on October 2nd. Then it might be a trip east to Churchill Downs for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile!