Fallen Leaf attempts to jump the inside rail during Gulfstream Park’s 11th race Saturday Aug. 22 (Lauren King/Coglianese Photo)
Fallen Leaf, who was well on her way to breaking her maiden before suddenly veering into the inside rail and unseating her rider nearing the finish line Aug. 20 (see original story here), made it all the way into the winner’s circle in Saturday’s 11th race at Gulfstream Park.
The 2-year-old filly, who appeared to veer away from the sight of her rider’s whip last time out and had demonstrated erratic behavior in previous starts, was all business Saturday. The Florida-bred filly broke alertly to open up a clear lead on the backstretch that she maintained around the turn and into the stretch. Although tiring late after setting swift early fractions of 21.63 (seconds) and 44.54 for the first half-mile of the five-furlong turf race, the even-money favorite maintained a straight course and had enough left to hold off a late-running Ivy Lovely by a neck.
“It’s nice to get the monkey off my back,” trainer Gary Jackson, who owns the daughter of A.P. Warrior with M and G Stables and Katherine Nielsen. “She’s a really quick filly. We’re so happy to have her.”
Fallen Leaf, who was equipped with blinkers for the first time, was ridden by Jocy Gomez, who did not carry a whip in her first race aboard the filly who had received national attention because of her antics.
“I don’t know if the blinkers made any difference. We just wanted to make sure she didn’t see anything else,” said Jackson, whose filly ran five furlongs in 57.78 seconds to win her first race in four starts. “She’ll shy to anyone’s whip, not just her rider’s.”
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