Saturday’s stakes-packed sequence featured a pair of sprints, the $400,000 Gallant Bob (G2) for three-year-olds on the main track and the $250,000 Turf Monster (G3) on turf.
Michele and Cliff Love’s homebred Damon’s Mound took the lead on the far turn and repelled the bid of Nautical Star to prevail by 1 1/4 lengths in the Gallant Bob, finishing six furlongs in 1:10.24 on the sloppy track. The three-year-old colt needed time this year to discover his best form, and Damon’s Mound is coming on presently for Michelle Lovell, notching a second consecutive stakes victory.
Junior Alvarado was up on the son of Girvin, and Damon’s Mound was favored at 9-5 in the nine-horse field following a two-length score in the Robert Hilton Memorial S. at Charles Town on Aug. 25. That tally snapped a five-race losing skein. The Florida-bred bay sophomore flashed early talent, including a convincing win in the Saratoga Special (G2) last year, but was unplaced in four consecutive stakes attempts prior to the Hilton.
Damon’s Mound has turned things around for connections.
“He’s done very well the last couple races,” Alvarado. “He’s been on the engine and making my job pretty easy. I rode him last time, kind of the same thing – broke out of there, put him on the engine. He likes that. He likes to feel that he’s the one in control. They outfooted me the first part, the two faster horses on the outside, then I was sitting in a beautiful trip. When I started picking it and making my run he was there digging in for me the whole way to the wire.”
Damon’s Mound tracked Sir Lancelot and Ryvit through an opening quarter-mile in :21.68 before advancing to take the lead on the turn. Nautical Star, who was off at 4.10-1, offered a serious bid from just off the pace to challenge in midstretch, but Damon’s Mound had more in reserve and won comfortably in the end.
“Everything worked out real well,” assistant trainer Mitch Butler said. “We knew there was some speed on the outside, and luckily the speed got in front of us, and Junior was able to take the horse outside like that and set up the easy trip. When he asked for the run, he just came to run just like we hoped he would so it worked out real well. Probably as good as it could go.”
Nautical Star held second by 3 1/2 lengths over Gordian Knot. Ninetyprcentmaddie, Ryvit, Dreaming of Kona, Depoli, Praetorian, and Sir Lancelot followed.
Damon’s Mound improved his record to 9-4-1-0, and he’s now bankrolled $601,790. The Florida-bred is the lone starter from multiple stakes-placed San Antonio Stroll, a daughter of Stroll.
In the Turf Monster, Nobody Listens made all the running in the five-furlong event recording a three-length decision over the yielding turf. The five-year-old gelding broke on top with Tyler Gaffalione and was never seriously challenged on the front end, establishing splits in :23.80 and :48.46 before stopping the teletimer in 1:01.40.
Tim Eggleston trains for Matt Kwiatkowski, Jason Kaylor, and Roger Browning, and Nobody Listens left the starting gate as the 3.10-1 second choice among 10 runners. The Indiana-bred earned his first graded and fifth overall stakes win, pushing his career earnings to $704,230 from a 26-14-7-1 ledger.
“You never know,” co-owner Kwiatkowski said when asked about targeting the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) at Santa Anita on Nov. 4. “After that race we’ll see what the number is and what comes next. He’s in good form and doing great right now.”
Smooth B held second throughout at 24-1, winding up two lengths clear of 3-5 favorite Roses for Debra. Five Dreams, Alexis S, Determined Kingdom, Surprise Boss, Just Jeremy, All That Magic, and Patriarch Artie came next under the wire.
Nobody Listens is by Conveyance. Bred by Southern Chase Farm and Karen and Greg Dodd, Nobody Listens is the first stakes winner from the Chapel Royal mare Royalesque.