July 19, 2019

Always Shopping acquires a Gazelle win for Repole

Always Shopping wins the Gazelle (c) NYRA/Coglianese Photography

by Teresa Genaro

New Yorker Mike Repole arrived at Aqueduct on Saturday with an entourage of 50 friends and family members. He had horses entered in each of the last five races, four of them in stakes.

Standing in the winner’s circle after Life’s a Parlay, co-owned by Repole and St. Elias Stable, won the Excelsior (G3), Repole said that coming into the day, he’d have been happy to come away with one win.

And while he didn’t get to cash his five-race win-bet parlay, he did keep it going in the $300,000 Gazelle (G2), won by his homebred Always Shopping by 1 3/4 lengths with Manny Franco in the saddle.

Repole’s Stopchargingmaria won the 2014 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (G2) at Pimlico, and in addition to the purse money, Repole also got a stallion season to the Adena Springs stallion Awesome Again.

“I said to Ed Rosen, my bloodstock guy, ‘What are we going to do with this?’” related Repole in the winner’s circle. He said, ‘Let me see if there’s a filly we have that would cross well with him.’ This is the foal that came out of that. Stopchargingmaria is still giving it to me.”

A month ago, Repole and trainer Todd Pletcher scratched likely favorite Always Shopping from the Busher Stakes at Aqueduct, a Kentucky Oaks qualifying race that offered 85 points. She had broken her maiden in the Busanda at Aqueduct in February.

“She runs well spaced out between races,” explained the owner, “and she’s not the biggest filly in the world. She seems to fire with six to eight weeks between races. So we scratched out of the Busher, which was hard to do because she was doing great, and I said, ‘If we win the Gazelle, we look really, really smart, and if we don’t, we look really dumb.’”

The victory in the Gazelle came with 100 Oaks qualifying points. Runner-up Positive Spirit earned 50, with third- and fourth-place finishers Off Topic and Proud Emma earning 20 and 10 respectively.

Mindful of his filly’s apparently-preferred schedule, Repole wouldn’t commit to running in the Oaks at Churchill Downs on May 2, but nor did he rule it out. In 2013, Repole’s Unlimited Budget ran third in the Oaks behind Princess of Sylmar and Beholder.

“It’s a hard race to pass up,” he said. “We’ll have to make a decision.”