BALTIMORE, 05-17-13– John D. Gunther’s Last Gunfighter captured his sixth consecutive victory with a commanding 4 ¼-length triumph in Friday’s $300,000 Pimlico Special (G3), the co-feature on the Black-Eyed Susan Day program at historic Pimlico Race Course.
The on-track crowd of 38,957 watched Emma-Jayne Wilson defeat seven other riders, including three Hall of Famers in the Xpressbet Battle Of the Sexes Pimlico Jockey Challenge and the Legends for the Cure IV race in which eight retired female riders returned to the saddle. The festivities included a presentation to the Maryland affiliate of Komen on the infield cupola, as well as a concert in the infield with the Goo Goo Dolls, Rodney Atkins and Rachel Farley.
The 13-race program generated a handle of $13,096,736.
“What a terrific way to start the weekend,” Maryland Jockey Club president Tom Chuckas said. “Opening the infield was a positive experience and we got a picture-perfect day. Our partnership with Susan G. Komen is a winner as days like this prove.”
The emerging handicap star stalked pacesetter Eighttofasttocatch from the start of the 1 3/16-mile race into mid-stretch, before powering to a convincing victory under jockey Javier Castellano.
The 4-year-old son of First Samurai is undefeated in six starts since joining the stable of Chad Brown, who has saddled him for four straight stakes victories. Maryland-based Eighttofasttocatch, a multiple graded-stakes winner of more than $650,000, held second money after setting a comfortable pace under Forest Boyce and finishing 9 ¼ lengths clear of third-place finisher Richard’s Kid.
Last Gunfighter, who paid $3.20 as favorite in the field of six, covered the classic distance of 1 3/16 miles in 1:58.50.
PIMLICO SPECIAL QUOTES
Chad Brown (trainer, Last Gunfighter, winner)– “The horse on the lead is a good horse. With the softer fractions at the quarter pole, it looked like he was getting away from us a little bit. But I had a lot of confidence that Javier had the pace judged right. This horse, he’s done that before in his races. He’s a bit of a grinder, where it kind of looks like he loses his placing and then here he comes again. It was kind of typical of the way this horse runs. Once he had him collared; any horse that puts up that many Ws in a row, you know they want to get their nose on the line.”
Javier Castellano (jockey, Last Gunfighter, winner)– “I had a beautiful trip. That's where I wanted to be, and it worked out great. It was a small field, and I didn't see much speed. The only horse that had the speed was the frontrunner, and he was my target all the way. It worked out perfect. At the three-eighths pole I had to use him a little bit to get him into the race, and he got into it really quick. I really liked the way he did it. Turning for home, he's a game horse and he passed the other horse and he took off. It was a great performance today."
"(The pace) was pretty easy. Mr. (Chad) Brown did a great job with the horse. He told me what to do and I just followed the horse and it worked out perfect for us."
Tim Keefe (trainer, Eighttofasttocatch, 2nd)– “He was just second best. Going into it, you look at Chad Brown’s horse and he was getting better with every start. Forest did every right, slowed the pace, slower than I could have hoped for. I was just hoping it was going to be too much for Chad’s horse to overcome. He’s a good horse and my horse is a good horse.”
Forest Boyce (jockey, Eighttofasttocatch, 2nd)– “My horse ran a very nice race. We didn’t have any problems or traffic. I was really happy to have this mount. I love this horse. We just came up a little short today.”
Doug O’Neill (trainer, Richard’s Kid, 3rd)– “He’s such a cool horse. There was no pace but he kept plugging away. He showed up today. We’re going to go back home and get ready for Del Mar (Grade 3 Cougar II, July 26). He ran third in the Pimlico Special and that is a great honor and a great privilege.”
Rosie Napravnik (jockey, Richard’s Kid, 3rd)– “We ran well. We ran our own race, but the speed just didn’t come back to us. We had a good trip all the way.”
Luis Garcia (jockey, Indian Dance, 4th)– “He didn’t have a bad trip, but he just walked out of the gate. I wish I was a little closer but he was just too far back.
About Pimlico Race Course
Historic Pimlico Race Course, home of the Preakness® Stakes, the middle jewel in horse racing's famed Triple Crown, first opened its doors on October 25, 1870, and is the second oldest racetrack in the United States. Pimlico has played host to racing icons and Baltimoreans have seen the likes of legendary horses such as Man o’ War, Seabiscuit, Secretariat, Affirmed and Cigar thunder down the stretch in thrilling and memorable competition. For more information on Pimlico, visit www.pimlico.com.
Pimlico Race Course is a Stronach Group company, North America’s leading Thoroughbred racetrack owner/operator. The Stronach Group racetracks include Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park & Casino, Golden Gate Fields, Portland Meadows, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, home of the world-famous Preakness. The company owns and operates the Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida and is one of North America's top race horse breeders through its award-winning Adena Springs operation. The Stronach Group is one of the world's largest suppliers of pari-mutuel wagering systems, technologies and services. Its companies include AmTote, a global leader in wagering technology; Xpressbet, an Internet and telephone account wagering service; and Monarch Content Management, which acts as a simulcast purchase and sales agent of horseracing content for numerous North American racetracks and wagering outlets. The Stronach Group is also a major producer of televised horse racing programming through its HRTV cable and satellite network and is North America's premier supplier of virtual online horse racing games, as well as a leading producer of social media content for the horseracing industry.