Leggs Galore and Ricky Gonzalez winning the Irish O’Brien on the Santa Anita turf
William Sims’ homebred Leggs Galore was long gone in Sunday’s $100,000 Irish O’Brien Stakes at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif., as she waltzed to a 2 ¼-length win, which was her fifth consecutive triumph dating back to Aug. 7. Trained by Phil D’Amato and ridden by Ricky Gonzalez, Leggs Galore, a 4-year-old California-bred filly by 2014 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Bayern, got six furlongs over a firm turf in 1:08.17.
Breaking like a rocket from her outside post position, Leggs Galore opened up a four- length cushion after the first quarter mile and it was readily apparent no one was capable of pressuring her, thus assuring the brilliantly fast grey her second consecutive stakes win over the course in what may’ve been her best effort to date.
“This race, she really started to remind me of Enola Gray (a California-bred gray that was a multiple stakes winner on turf and a winner of the 2017 Irish O’Brien) the way she won today,” said D’Amato, who notched his meet-leading 10th stakes victory. “I gave Ricky the option. I just told him to play the break, if they wanted to come get her she could rate, she’s done it before, but I mean she broke like a rocket and there was no looking back.”
A handy winner of the Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf Sprint on Jan. 16, Leggs Galore was off as the 6-5 favorite in a field of seven older fillies and mares bred or sired in California and she paid $4.60, $2.60 and $2.20.
“She’s just so special, she’s so fast and talented,” said Gonzalez, who has now ridden her to four consecutive wins. “Phil said she’s rated before, so I had options but the way she broke there was only one way, just keep going. She was so relaxed, she was looking around, her ears were pricked, just having fun out there. I was just a happy passenger.”
Out of the Indian Charlie mare Cashing Tickets, Leggs Galore is now unbeaten in five turf starts from seven overall races. With today’s winner’s share of $60,000, she increased her earnings to $262,208.
In what amounted to a separate race, Bella Vita, who was third around the turn, drove up the rail in a solid effort for second money, finishing 2 ¼ lengths in front of Sadie Bluegrass. The second choice at 8-5 with Flavien Prat, Bella Vita paid $2.60 and $2.20.
A non-threatening second into and around the turn, Sadie Bluegrass held third by a head over Nardini. Based at Golden Gate Fields, Sadie Bluegrass was ridden by Brayan Pena and paid $3.40 to show while off at 5-1.
The Irish O’Brien gave Gonzalez a riding double and D’Amato picked up his 21st overall win, putting him third in the standings, one behind Bob Baffert and Peter Miller.
Fractions on the race were 21.94, 44.37 and 56.08.
The Irish O’Brien is part of the lucrative Golden State Series. Sponsored by the CTBA, the Golden State Series is for eligible California-bred or sired horses.
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