By Dick Downey
Gemologist was hand ridden by Javier Castellano to an easy victory in a one-mile allowance race today at Gulfstream Park.
The winner of the Grade II Kentucky Jockey Club was timed in 1:35.95. He was entered in the Florida race after sidestepping the Grade II Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park tomorrow. It was the first start of 2012 for Gemologist, trained by Todd Pletcher.
Currency Swap alone attended the pace set by Gemologist, :24.93, :47.58 and 1:11.26. With five starting, it turned out to be a two-horse race.
But when they turned for home, Gemologist spurted away with Castellano sitting motionless. Rajiv Maragh and Currency Swap stayed on to run a well-beaten second.
Options for Gemologist are the Grade I Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 7, and the Grade I Blue Grass at Keeneland and the Grade I Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn on April 14.
Before the race, Currency Swap's trainer, Teresa Pompay, told HRTV he'd be entered next in either the Arkansas Derby or Grade I Wood Memorial if he ran well today.
Todd Pletcher:“We talked about it before the race and thought he might sit behind a horse, but he broke so sharp Javier just let him go on and get into his rhythm. Physically, I thought he got everything he needed out of the race that we had hoped for, running a mile in 1:35 and four, and he galloped out really well. Elliott and I will discuss options for his next race over the next few days, but from a time standpoint it will be a race on either Apr. 7 or Apr. 14, and we’ll decide whether it will be better to have four weeks or three weeks to the Derby.”
Javier Castellano: “He came off the layoff with a great performance. He was amazing. He did it on his own. He did it so easy. I was very impressed; he did it the right way and he’s heading in the right direction.”
Terri Pompay: “He was fine, nice and relaxed. We just wanted him to lay off the other horse, and the pace was a little slow in the beginning. The other horse ran away from him a little bit, but he did everything we wanted. We got the race into him. We’ll talk about (his next start) and see how he comes out of this race.”