Saturday, November 4, 2017
TORONTO, November 4 – Less than an hour after trainer Josie Carroll and owner Ivan Dalos watched their filly Ami’s Mesa finish just a nose shy of a Breeders' Cup victory at Del Mar, Gamble’s Ghost completed an exciting day of racing for the duo back home winning the Maple Leaf Stakes (Grade 3) at Woodbine Racetrack.
Gamble’s Ghost ($4.70) was sent postward as the 6-5 favourite in the $125,000 co-featured stakes event contested over 1-1/4 miles on the main track with Eurico Rosa Da Silva picking up the mount and notching his 32nd stakes victory of the meet to move within four of matching the Woodbine single-season stakes win record.
While Gamble’s Ghost raced outside near the back of the pack, her barn buddy Involuntary led all the way into the stretch (:25.33, :50.75, 1:15.86, 1:40.82) with Happyness and Ice Festival looming to her outside. Ice Festival commenced her bid heading into the stretch, but Gamble’s Ghost swept by in front of the grandstand to win by three-quarters of a length in a final time of 2:04.70. Involuntary followed in third with Happyness finishing fourth and Giovanna Blue completing the order of finish.
“I was just paying attention to my horse. I think Josie gave me the perfect instructions,” said Da Silva. “She said, ‘Eurico, just pay attention for her to break good’ and she did break good. And she said, ‘Just be in contact if they race, don’t change her style, and she’ll have a big run for you in the end.’ And that’s what I did.
“She was very, very relaxed. She’s a super, super class filly. I think Rafael [Hernandez aboard Ice Festival] rode a very good race because he was in post position one and he came outside and he ended up being in a very good position in the first turn. I was just sitting behind and waiting for the moment for me to push my horse because she was running very, very relaxed and I can feel any time she is going to break from there.”
“I knew that she was the best horse so it was just a question, ‘Will she show up or not?’” said Dalos from the winner’s circle. “She did what she had to.
“She likes to finish and I know that if she’s anywhere within striking distance that she can make it home.”
The homebred four-year-old Ghostzapper-Gambling Girl filly earned her third straight victory and seventh lifetime from 15 starts while her bankroll climbed to $576,883. She is now a three-time Grade 3 stakes winner with prior wins in the Mazarine and Selene Stakes in her two and three-year-old campaigns.
Dalos indicated that he is leaning towards another year of racing for Gamble’s Ghost, as well as Ami’s Mesa, before they join his broodmare band at Tall Oaks Farm.
“I couldn’t believe my eyes!” he said of watching Ami’s Mesa’s runner-up performance in the Breeders’ Cup. “I thought we were going to be close, but I didn’t realize that we’d get on the lead. She was on the lead for most of the backstretch and I said, ‘Can she hold it?’ And she just could not.”
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