Trainer Eric Guillot sat on a bale of hay near where his two fillies for upcoming stakes were stabled and lamented the No. 1 post for Gabrielleelizabeth in Saturday’s Grade I $ 300,000 Del Mar Debutante in a way that reflected his Louisiana roots.
“The West Coast mafia done got me and stuck me with the one hole,” Guillot said. “I should have been there for the draw. Now, I’m going to have to get out a voodoo doll for the racing office.
“At first I thought I was here for a reason and not the season and to be appeasin’ but now I’m stuck on the rail.”
Guillot, 55, is here with Gabrielleelizabeth for the Debutante and Unstablenthemornin for the $ 100,000 Juvenile Fillies Turf on Monday. With major stakes for 2-year-old fillies, on dirt and turf, both here and at Saratoga, and horses training in Florida, Guillot was faced with a dilemma.
“It looked like the races at The Spa (Saratoga) were going to be a lot tougher. They entered for the Spinaway yesterday and it’s only a five-horse field,” Guillot pointed out. “There’s eight here (in the Debutante), so it looks like we made a mistake. But it is what it is. Too late, we’re here.
“I don’t go by the nickname Giant Killer No. 2 or Dragonslayer No. 1 in New York for no reason. If I’ve got one in, I’ve got a chance.”
Guillot was a regular on the entire Southern California circuit for more than two decades but opted to relocate to the east eight years ago. He’s won several major stakes there, including the Dwyer (2013), Whitney (2014) and Charlestown Classic (2015), all with Moreno. His piece de resistance was saddling Laoban for a wire-to-wire victory in the 2016 $ 600,000 Grade I Jim Dandy. Laoban became the first maiden to win the event and paid off at odds of 27-1.
And, as he points out, for Guillot to win the Debutante and/or Juvenile Fillies Turf would not be unprecedented. He took the 2009 Debutante with Mi Sueno and the 2012 Oak Tree Juvenile Fillies Turf with Renee’s Queen.
In her second career start, on July 23 at Gulfstream Park, Gabrielleelizabeth, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Bellamy Road, won a six-furlong maiden event wire-to-wire.
“She’s a little bit of a goofball mentally, but physically she’s a beast,” Guillot said. “She worked (5 furlongs) fifty-nine and three here (August 26) and she went over it like breaking sticks. I’m going to have to gun from the one hole. I’m scared if she doesn’t get close to the lead she’ll put her head up in the air and throw in the towel.
“These babies don’t have enough experience yet to know what to do in every situation. But she does have something the others don’t have – me.”
The field from the rail: Gabrielleelizabeth (Evin Roman, 20-1), Moonshine Memories (Flavien Prat, 6-1), Spectator (Jamie Theriot, 5-2), Gas Station Sushi (Corey Nakatani, 7-2), Just a Smidge (Rafael Bejarano, 3-1), Piedi Bianchi (Mario Gutierrez, 12-1), Dancing Belle (Kent Desormeaux, 12-1) and Poetic (Mike Smith, 4-1).
Saul Marquez, agent for Theriot, said that the rider suffered only “bumps and bruises” in a spill in Wednesday’s fourth race and, while taking off one scheduled mount Thursday, would be back to ride favored Spectator in the Debutante.
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