Ghostzapper's Gamble's Ghost Flies Home for Second Graded Win
Ivan Dalos' homebred Gamble's Ghost, patiently handled by Luis Contreras, swooped to a smart score in Sunday's $174,600 Grade III Selene Stakes, at Woodbine.
Watch the Selene Stakes
Trained by Josie Carroll, the dark bay daughter of Ghostzapper-Gambling Girl arrived at the 1 1/16-mile Tapeta route for sophomore fillies from a deceptively good sixth-place run, defeated just two lengths, in the Grade III Florida Oaks at Tampa Bay Downs.
The Selene is often a key prep on the path to the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks, presented by Budweiser, which is slated for Sunday, June 12. Gamble's Ghost is also one of three Ghostzapper three-year-olds nominated to the $1 million Queen's Plate on July 3.
Gamble's Ghost, leaving from the inside post in the field of six, settled into fifth position in the early running of the Selene as Caren, a four-time stakes winner piloted by Jesse Campbell, notched the opening quarter in :24.55.
As the field entered the final turn, Contreras pushed the button on Gamble's Ghost and the filly responded with an impressive turn of foot to swoop the field and engage Caren. The duo battled briefly from the top of the lane before Gamble's Ghost took command for a 1 1/4-length win. Caren held place by 3 ¼-lengths over Thrilled. Gamble's Ghost covered 1 1/16-miles in 1:45.05.
Despite a strong headwind, Contreras was content to use the same rallying style that propelled the duo to victory in the Grade III Mazarine Stakes in October.
“That's the way the filly runs all the time and I really didn't want to do anything different. She's been running like that and winning,” said Contreras. “I had to move a little bit earlier than I wanted to as I didn't want to ride too hard with the wind, so I let her go early. She's a good filly.”
In addition to her Mazarine coup, Gamble's Ghost also filled out the exactor in the Grade II Natalma, behind eventual Horse of the Year, Catch a Glimpse, and the Princess Elizabeth Stakes behind Selene rival, Caren, in a solid juvenile campaign.
Carroll is pleased with how the filly improved through the winter months spent at Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida.
“She's a very elegant filly. She filled out. She didn't get real tall, but she has a nice shape to her,” said Carroll.
Carroll noted that the sixth-place run in the Florida Oaks was a good effort. “It was a better race than it looked,” said Carroll. “She left the gate and slipped a little in behind and it took her a little while to get rolling after that. I think it's a much better race than it looks on paper.”
Gamble's Ghost is out of Gambling Girl who won the 1996 edition of the La Prevoyante Stakes for Dalos.
-edited from www.paulickreport.com