Gerrymander rebounded from a lackluster season debut to capture the $232,500 Mother Goose S. (G2) at Belmont Park on Saturday under a crafty ride by Joel Rosario.
Breaking sharp and and on top leaving the chute in the 1 1/16-mile Mother Goose, Rosario soon allowed Juju’s Map and Shahama to forge ahead of Gerrymander, who settled in third down the backside while skimming the rail. Rosario tipped the 6-1 chance outside those two at the five-sixteenths, made the lead three wide at the top of the stretch, and stormed clear to a three length win.
“When she broke out on the front, I liked it because she trains that way – like a horse that will like being on or near the lead as we stretch her out,” trainer Chad Brown said. “When [Joel] decided to put a hold on her a little bit and let Juju’s Map overtake them, I did question it down the backside. I didn’t know that was the right move.
“When I saw the fraction from 24 [seconds] to 46 [seconds], they went an inside 22 and change, I said, ‘Well, actually, Joel has a better clock than I do because that was probably the right move to do.’ And sure enough, it was the winning move.”
Owned by Klaravich Stables, Gerrymander returned $15 after completing the course in 1:43.74 over a fast track. Shahama was a clear second, 4 3/4 lengths in front of 1-2 favorite Juju’s Map. Venti Valentine trailed throughout.
This was the second career stakes win for Gerrymander, who landed the one-mile Tempted S. at Belmont by a half-length last November. That followed a maiden win at Saratoga second out and a distant runner-up placing behind division champion Echo Zulu in the Frizette (G1).
Gerrymander returned to action for the first time since the May 6 Eight Belles (G2) at Churchill Downs, where she found herself last early after a troubled start. She wound up finishing sixth, nearly 10 lengths behind Matareya, who came back to repeat in the Acorn (G1) at Belmont earlier this month.
“It was a greasy track she hated, and she just did no running. I drew a line through it,” said Brown, who said Gerrymander is likely to point to the 1 1/4-mile Alabama (G1) at Saratoga. Gerrymander now boasts a record of 6-3-2-0, $378,000.
Bred in Kentucky by Town & Country Horse Farms and Pollock Farms, Gerrymander sold for $375,000 at Keeneland September. A Kentucky-bred daughter of Into Mischief, Gerrymander was produced by the Grade 3-placed Ruby Lips, who has also reared the multiple Grade 2-winning stayer Lone Rock. Ruby Lips herself is a Hard Spun half-sister to multiple Grade 1-winning grass specialist Hard Not to Like.