Gormley was as fresh and bright as the dry, sunny Sunday morning after his exciting head victory over favored American Anthem in Saturday’s Grade III Sham Stakes, the West’s first graded steppingstone to the $ 1 million Santa Anita Derby on April 8.
“He looked really good this morning,” trainer John Shirreffs said of the son of Malibu Moon owned by Jerry and Ann Moss. “I’m extremely proud of the way he ran and battled it out. It was a great duel down the stretch with both horses.
“Two great jockeys going at it, two promising young horses going at it. That’s what racing is all about.”
Ridden by Victor Espinoza, the regular rider of 2014 Horse of the Year California Chrome and Triple Crown king American Pharoah, Horse of the Year in 2015, Gormley dueled with even-money favorite American Anthem virtually from the start of the one-mile race, prevailing in a stiff drive outside of American Anthem, ridden by Hall of Famer Mike Smith.
American Anthem was in receipt of five pounds from Gormley, who carried 124.
Shirreffs mentioned the Grade II, $ 400,000 San Felipe Stakes at 1 1/16 miles as a likely spot for Gormley’s next race.
Bob Baffert reported that American Anthem came out of his game effort in good order.
“I was happy with his race,” he said.
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