Evenly matched group set for Gallorette
It’s not for lack of trying that none of the seven fillies and mares expected to contest Saturday’s $100,000 Gallorette Stakes (G3) at historic Pimlico Race Course has ever won a graded stakes race on U.S. sod.
They’ve all experienced their share of success, just not in graded company.
For one, that drought will end in the 1 1/16-mile turf stakes, which will be run for the 72nd time.
The Grade 3 Gallorette is carded as the seventh of 10 stakes, including six graded, worth $2.75 million in purses on a blockbuster 14-race program headlined by the 148th Preakness Stakes (G1), Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown.
Trainer Graham Motion will be saddling three of the expected starters, two of which (Sopran Basilea and Vergara) are coming off layoffs and another (Bipartisanship) that is coming out of a sharp allowance race at Keeneland Race Course.
Madaket Stables and Bill Strauss’s 5-year-old Sopran Basilea, in addition to having not run since October, will be making her U.S. racing debut after spending the entirety of her career in Italy. And she has won Group stakes in Europe. The only concern for Motion is Saturday’s 1 1/16-mile distance, which is shorter than she’s used to running.
“I think it looks like she probably wants to go further,” Motion said. “We actually toyed with the idea of running her at Keeneland going a mile and a half. But I thought this was a good starting point.”
Gary Broad’s Vergara also hasn’t run since October. The 4-year-old filly was second in a pair of graded stakes last year, the Sands Point (G2) at Belmont at Aqueduct and Ontario Colleen Stakes (G3) at Woodbine.
“She’s been pretty darn consistent,” Motion said of Vergara, who has finished worse than third in only two of her nine career races. “She really hasn’t done much wrong.”
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Motion’s third starter in the Gallorette, Bipartisanship, won a minor stakes in November at Del Mar but struggled against tougher company, finishing seventh in the Matriarch (G1) at Del Mar and sixth in the Robert J. Frankel Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita – both in December. The mare returned in April at Keeneland, finishing third in a tough allowance event.
“I put her in some tough spots over the winter,” Motion said of Bipartisanship, who is owned by As One Racing LLC, Commonwealth Thoroughbreds LLC and Edgar Harty. “We freshened her up and I think she really ran well the other day at Keeneland. I think she belongs (in the Gallorette).”
Michael Dubb and partners’ Eminent Victor has also had narrow misses in graded stakes last year, finishing second in the Lake George (G3) at Saratoga and third in the Sands Point.
“She’s ready and doing everything right,” said Brown’s assistant trainer, Jose Hernandez.
Juddmonte’s Whitebeam has finished third or better in six of her seven career starts and was second in the Plenty of Grace Stakes in April at Aqueduct in what was her U.S. debut.
“She’s ready to run and I think she’s going to be tough,” Hernandez said of the gray filly.
Dewberry Thoroughbred LLC’s Princess Theorem finished first, second and third in her three races this year at Gulfstream Park for trainer Brendan Walsh, with the third-place effort coming in the Honey Fox (G3).
Rounding out the field is Burning Daylight Farms Inc and Rebecca Galbraith’s Traffic Song, who is coming out of an allowance win at Gulfstream in March.