D’Amato, Fresu Secure Stakes Double Sunday at Santa Anita

April 7, 2024

King of Gosford king of the hillside turf in the John Shear (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

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Santa Anita Press Box/Edited

ARCADIA, Calif.— A day after teaming to win the GI Santa Anita Derby, trainer Phil D’Amato and jockey Antonio Fresu bagged another stakes win Sunday with King of Gosford in the $100,000 John Shear Stakes for 3-year-olds on the hillside turf course.

Dispatched as the 2-1 second choice, King of Gosford prevailed by one length over 10-1 shot Raging Torrent for trainer Doug O’Neill. Miracle Mark, also 10-1, finished another 1 ¾ lengths back in third. Odds-on favorite Heart Headed, with Santa Anita leading rider Juan Hernandez up, was never a factor when finishing fifth of six for trainer John Sadler.

Bred in England, King of Gosford last year had one win in five starts in Ireland before being imported to the U.S. for his campaign. In his local debut March 10, King of Gosford won a first-level allowance going six furlongs on the flat turf course at Santa Anita.

King of Gosford broke last but quickly ranged up to secure second while racing on the inside of pacesetter Charge for Gold (24-1). King of Gosford drew to even terms with Charge For Gold on the dirt crossing and steadily inched away in the stretch to earn a comfortable victory. Raging Torrent closed from next-to-last under Kazushi Kimura to be second.

“He is a typical European horse,” Fresu said of the slow start. “This was his second start in the U.S. Last time he kind of did the same on the flat. He went to the lead and picked it up nicely.

“Today I just did the same thing. Six and a half down the hill is just perfect for him,” Fresu continued. “I just let him be and he just dragged me there. When I asked him to quicken, he had a nice turn of foot and went straight to the line.”

The winning time for about 6 ½ furlongs on firm turf was 1:11.98. Fractions for the race were 21.95, 43.71 and 1:05.95.

King of Gosford returned $6.40, $4.20 and $3.60. Raging Torrent paid $8.60 and $4.60. Miracle Mark returned $5.00 to show.

King of Gosford is by Australian-bred stallion Zoustar. He is campaigned domestically by Benowitz Family Trust, CYBT, Saul Gevertz, Michael Nentwig and Jeremy Paskoff.

In addition to the Santa Anita Derby, D’Amato Saturday also won the Echo Eddie Stakes with Shady Tiger. This latest victory gives him 10 stakes at the Classic Meet, which is tied with Hall of Famers Bob Baffert and Richard Mandella for most at the stand.

For Fresu, this was his 10th stakes win at the stand, which is one fewer than meet-leader Flavien Prat. Fresu also won the race preceding the John Shear with The Big Cheeseola ($6.80) for trainer Tim Yakteen.

“It feels great,” Fresu said. “I am always working hard to get these types of races. And now I just give thanks to all these people giving me support and putting me on the right horses. I am trying to do my best.”

Laulne gets up to win the Angels Flight (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

The big weekend for D’Amato and Fresu continued when Laulne got up to win by a nose in Sunday’s $125,000 Angels Flight Stakes for 3-year-old fillies on the hillside turf course.

The victory for D’Amato and Fresu came four races after teaming to win the John Shear Stakes with King of Gosford and one day after scoring with Stronghold in the GI Santa Anita Derby. For D’Amato, he finished the Classic Meet with 11 stakes wins to lead all trainers. Fresu finishes the Classic Meet with 11 stakes wins, which ties with Prat for the most by a jockey at the Classic Meet.

Sent off the 5-2 second choice in a nine-horse field, Laulne settled in mid-pack then unleashed a powerful stretch kick to run down Alluring (4-1) with Umberto Rispoli up. The winning time for about 6 ½ furlongs on firm turf was 1:12.37.

Finishing a length back of Alluring in third was Girl of My Dreams with another three-quarters of a length back to pacesetter Girl of My Dreams (16-1) in fourth. Zona Verde, the 5-2 favorite also trained by D’Amato, was never a factor and finished sixth.

Laulne was making her first start since an off-the-board finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf on Nov. 3, which was the U.S. debut for the Irish-bred daughter of Starspangledbanner. Last year in France, she won a Group 3 sprinting at Deauville and placed in two other group stakes.

Laulne is campaigned domestically by Madaket Stables, Panic Stable, Gerard Norman-Augustin, Robert V. LaPenta and William Strauss. She improved to 4-1-2 in eight starts with $180,762 in earnings.

Laulne paid $7.40, $4.20 and $3.60. Alluring, trained by Richard Mandella, returned $5.00 and $4.20. Girl of My Dreams, trained by Doug O’Neill, paid $7.80 to show.

Fractions for the race were 21.99, 43.85 and 1:06.38.

After a one-week break, live racing will resume for a 29-day run on April 19 the start of the Hollywood Meet.

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