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Kentucky Derby and Horse Racing at The Downey Profile®

Espinoza Gets Sidelong Looks at Gormley, Royal Mo


Shirreffs-Moss Duo Ship Monday

Saturday at Santa Anita, exercise rider Cisco Alvarado worked Gormley while the colt’s regular jockey, Victor Espinoza, was aboard workmate Ziconic.

Gormley, in his final major drill for the 143rd Run for the Roses, went seven furlongs in 1:26.20, while Ziconic went in 1:27.40.

Later, Santa Anita Derby third-place finisher Royal Mo, currently one spot away in qualifying points of drawing into the Kentucky Derby field of 20, also breezed under Alvarado, with Espinoza on workmate Shazara. Royal Mo went six furlongs Saturday in 1:13, while Shazara was clocked in 1:13.20.

“Cisco has been working Gormley since before the Santa Anita Derby, so we didn’t want to change anything,” trainer John Shirreffs said. “He’s been doing a great job, so there was no need to change. Having Victor on the pace horse was very important, too, because he has a good sense of pace.

“Also, it gives Victor a good chance to look at Gormley when he gets alongside of him, so it worked out well. I did that quite a bit with Mike Smith when he rode Zenyatta. You need a rider who knows how to set up a nice pace.”

All that said, Shirreffs also said he was pleased with the drill. Both horses are owned by Jerry and Ann Moss.

“I thought the work was very good,” said Shirreffs of Gormley. “Both he and Royal Mo will ship early Monday for Kentucky and arrive Monday afternoon. Tuesday they’ll probably jog or do something, get out and stretch their legs somehow.”

Asked if he reaped any benefits from having won the Kentucky Derby with 50-1 outsider Giacomo in 2005, Shirreffs said, “You learn all the time. Every horse teaches you something.”

Edited track release

Photo by Zoe Metz Photography

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