Promoted Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Country House didn’t make it to Pimlico for the Preakness (G1), but his half-sister and stablemate, Mitchell Road, scored a clear-cut decision for connections in the $150,000 Gallorette (G3) on the undercard.
A fellow homebred racing for Mrs. J.V. Shields Jr. and E.J.M. McFadden Jr., and trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, Mitchell Road was last seen landing her stakes debut in the February 16 Albert M. Stall Memorial at Fair Grounds. Country House competed on the same day, finishing second to War of Will in the Risen Star (G2).
The Stall Memorial form had been boosted in the meantime, with runner-up Beau Recall going on to take the New Orleans Ladies and the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (G2) on Derby Day. Thus Mitchell Road was bet down to 2-1 favoritism in the Gallorette, and the progressive four-year-old duly obliged.
Sent straight to the front by Joel Rosario, Mitchell Road carved out fractions of :23.28 and :47.07 on the firm course. Dynatail tried to keep tabs, but the winner spurted clear through six furlongs in 1:10.59 and held sway by a comfortable 2 1/4 lengths. The English Channel filly sped 1 1/16 miles in 1:41.21 to give her sire a second stakes win on the card, after sophomore English Bee in the James W. Murphy.
“She broke away in the lead, and was just looking around, enjoying what she was doing,” Rosario recapped. “She is a good-moving filly, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to ride her. She was comfortable. (In the stretch), I just wanted to ride her just in case some other horse might come up on her.”
Thewayiam rallied for second, a half-length up on Viva Vegas. Next came I’m So Fancy; Dynatail; 7-2 second choice Inflexibility and her stablemate from the Chad Brown barn, Barkaa; and In the Lee. Hogans Holiday was a vet scratch.
Mitchell Road extended her winning streak to four. After taking an entry-level allowance at Aqueduct in December and clearing her second-level condition at Gulfstream Park in January, she handled the rise to stakes company with aplomb at Fair Grounds. The bay has now earned $244,570 from a 7-5-2-0 record.
“She’s developed with age into a very nice filly,” said the trainer’s son-cum-assistant, Riley Mott. “She showed talent from day one. She’s never been out of the exacta and she’s developed into a very nice filly.
“She got a little bit sick after her race at the Fair Grounds, and needed a little time to recuperate, which is why you’re only seeing her now at Pimlico. She always trains very forwardly, very willingly and she surely ran well today.
“There’s a big race at Belmont going one turn on Belmont Day (Just a Game (G1)) which I would say would suit her style, but obviously we have to see how she comes out of this and talk to the ownership. We’ll enjoy this; she gave her little brother (Country House) a big update there.”
The Kentucky-bred is out of the winning War Chant mare Quake Lake, who sadly died following the birth of Country House. Mitchell Road is bred along similar lines: her sire, English Channel, and Country House’s sire, Lookin at Lucky, are both by Smart Strike. Quake Lake was herself a half-sister to Canadian classic winner and multiple Grade 1-placed millionaire Breaking Lucky.