Gomez named to ride Stardom Bound in Oaks
IEAH Stables has tabbed Garrett Gomez as the new rider for STARDOM BOUND (Tapit) in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) on May 1. The reigning Eclipse Award-winning jockey will replace Hall of Famer Mike Smith aboard the champion two-year-old filly.
"This is by no means a firing of Mike Smith," IEAH's Mike Iavarone said. "Mike has obviously done a great job on the filly. This is related to the long-term picture in that Mike is committed to Zenyatta (Street Cry [Ire]). With the idea of Stardom Bound eventually meeting up with Zenyatta, we wanted a new rider who get acquainted with Stardom Bound now. There was the opportunity to get Garrett aboard Stardom Bound now, and we're grateful for the work Mike has done aboard the filly in the past."
Stardom Bound, who sealed championship honors with a 1 1/2-length win in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1), reeled off six straight Grade 1 victories before having her string snapped with a third in the Ashland S. (G1) on April 4. She opened 2009 with victories in the Las Virgenes S. (G1) and Santa Anita Oaks (G1) and will bring a lifetime mark of 8-5-2-1, $1,820,600, into the Kentucky Oaks.
Her ultimate goal is the Breeders' Cup Ladies Distaff (G1), which will be held at Santa Anita in early November. That is also the goal of unbeaten champion mare Zenyatta.
Stardom Bound galloped Wednesday morning at Keeneland under Michelle Nevin.
In other Kentucky Oaks news:
RACHEL ALEXANDRA (Medaglia d'Oro), winner of the Fantasy S. (G2) and Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) in her last two starts, is set to work on Thursday at Churchill Downs. Trainer Hal Wiggins said the filly would breeze around 8:30 a.m. (EDT), just after the break for track maintenance.
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said that both JUSTWHISTLEDIXIE (Dixie Union) and FITZ JUST RIGHT (Seattle Fitz [Arg]) would work Friday morning at Keeneland. Both fillies are owned by West Point Thoroughbreds.
Justwhistledixie, winner of five consecutive starts including the Bonnie Miss S. (G2) and Davona Dale S. (G2) at Gulfstream Park in her last two starts, is considered definite for the Kentucky Oaks. Fitz Just Right ran second in the Bourbonette Oaks (G3) at Turfway Park in her most recent start on March 21.
"She is training so well," McLaughlin said regarding Fitz Just Right. "We were hoping to go to the Black-Eyed Susan ([G2] at Pimlico on May 15) with a fresh horse, but she is doing so well, you have to take a look at it (the Oaks)."
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