03.02.2019

Ghostzapper's Holy Helena Again 'The Very One' in Gulfstream Park Stake

Stronach Stables' homebred Holy Helena got back on the firm turf she prefers and responded with......

Stronach Stables' homebred Holy Helena got back on the firm turf she prefers and responded with her first victory of 2019 in Saturday's Grade 3 The Very One Stakes at Gulfstream Park, running down frontrunner Ickymasho in the final sixteenth of a mile to win by a neck. Off as the 2-1 favorite, the 5-year-old daughter of Ghostzapper teamed with Irad Ortiz, Jr. to cover 1 3/16 miles over the firm turf in 1:54.20. The millionaire mare is trained by Jimmy Jerkens.



A disappointing sixth over a yielding turf in the Jan. 26 La Prevoyante (G3), Holy Helena defended her title in the The Very One as the 2-1 favorite while benefiting from a perfectly executed ride by Irad Ortiz Jr.

Holy Helena saved ground while rated in third behind front-running Ickymasho, who set uncontested fractions of 23.89 and 49.31 seconds for the first half mile and continued to show the way into the far turn. Ridden by Jose Ortiz, Ickymasho sprinted clear of her rivals leaving the turn into the homestretch, where Holy Helena cut the corner into the stretch. The pacesetter kicked on through the stretch but was unable to hold off Holy Helena by a neck while finishing four lengths clear of Semper Senentiae.

Holy Helena, who captured last year's The Very One by 1 ¾ lengths under Ortiz, registered the fifth stakes success of her career, which includes a triumph over boys in the $1 million Queen's Plate at Woodbine in 2017. She was also awarded the Sovereign Award for champion 3-year-old filly that season.

Trainer James Jerkens (Holy Helena): “She had only run four weeks ago a mile and a half on soft turf, but she's a good doer, especially for a filly. She had three decent works in between her last race and she handled it well. I think she looks terrific physically, so I was very confident today, I really was.”

Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. (Holy Helena): “Last time she broke a step slow and we were too far back. So we tried to break good and get good position. She was closer today and when I asked her to go she was there. We were going slow today, the pace was very slow. We were close to the lead. I tried to hold my position. With the slow pace, I turned her loose a little earlier because it's hard to catch some horses when they go that slow.”

Holy Helena is Ghostzapper's third Stakes winner of 2019. She is now earned $1,175,578.

-edited from www.PaulickReport.com

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02.25.2019

Runaway Ghost Spirits Away to Fifth Stakes Victory

“Put me in, coach!” That’s the message Runaway Ghost had been sending to trainer Todd Fincher......

“Put me in, coach!”

That’s the message the Ghostzapper colt Runaway Ghost had been sending to trainer Todd Fincher in advance of the $75,000 Curribot on February 24 at Sunland Park.

Fincher had not been targeting the Curribot with Runaway Ghost because the race comes three weeks after the horse made a successful return from a 10-month layoff by winning the $75,000 Fort Bliss on Feb. 2 at Sunland. Runaway Ghost won that six-furlong sprint in 1:08.44 and popped a career-high Beyer Speed Figure of 95.

“There’s the bounce factor, six furlongs to a mile and a sixteenth in such short time, and pressure of having a great horse like him and getting beat,” Fincher said. “But he’s doing everything to make me change my mind. He came out of the race so good, so happy, and is training lights out.”

“He’s acting like the last race didn’t take a lot out of him,” Fincher said. “I know I have a solid foundation in him.
“I just hope he’s not lying to me.”

He wasn't.

Runaway Ghost continued his comeback with another sharp victory over American Dubai in the Curribot, his fifth career stakes victory.

American Dubai, a multiple stakes winner in New Mexico seen on the 2016 Kentucky Derby trail, took the lead and set opening fractions of 24.25 and 47.46. Runaway Ghost, ridden by Santiago Gonzalez, was taken three wide into the first turn before edging into second over Deputy’s Echo.

The pacesetter tried to pull away early and opened up by more than three lengths. Runaway Ghost closed the gap in the turn and was fanned at least four wide when turning for home. American Dubai fought back, but Runaway Ghost proved best and edged clear by 1 1/1 lengths.

He completed the 1 1/16 miles in 1:41.44.

Runaway Ghost is a homebred for Joe Peacock. He is out of the New Mexico-bred mare, Rose's Desert, another homebred for Peacock trained by Fincher. Rose's Desert was a seven-time stakes winner in her home state and earned $626,035.

Runaway Ghost was consigned by Shawhan Place at the 2016 Keeneland September sale but RNA's for $240,000. He ended up being a successful keep for Peacock, with his earnings now reaching $653,510 from a 9:6-2-0 record.

- edited from www.drf.com & www.horseracingnation.com

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