Teresa Garofalo Memorial Winner Tries Graded Stakes Company in Grade 2 Gallant Bloom
OZONE PARK, N.Y.— Trainer Robert Falcone, Jr. has enjoyed his best year to date in 2022 for total purse earnings and stakes wins, recording over $1.2 million in earnings with four trips to the winner’s circle in stakes events. Sandford Goldfarb’s Remain Anonymous will look to give Falcone, Jr. another stakes victory in Sunday’s Grade 2, $250,000 Gallant Bloom for fillies and mares 3-years-old and upward sprinting 6 1/2 furlongs at Aqueduct Racetrack.
A Pennsylvania-bred daughter of Tapiture, Remain Anonymous has proven to be an astute claim for Falcone, Jr., who haltered her for $32,000 out of a winning effort at Saratoga Race Course on July 15. She stepped up to stakes company in her first start for Falcone, Jr., defeating seven Pennsylvania-breds in the Dr. Teresa Garofalo Memorial on August 22 at Parx Racing, besting reigning Pennsylvania-Bred Horse of the Year Chub Wagon by 5 3/4 lengths.
“It’s definitely very satisfying,” Falcone, Jr. said of the bay mare’s first stakes victory. “I was impressed with that race. She beat a nice filly in Chub Wagon and she drew away easy. She did it against Pennsylvania-breds, but respectable ones. We’ll see who comes up in the Gallant Bloom and maybe take a shot there.”
Falcone, Jr.’s stakes successes continued just two weeks later when Spirit And Glory upset the Virginia Oaks on September 6 at Colonial Downs, one of five wins from six starts this year for Falcone, Jr. at the New Kent, Virginia oval. The Virginia Oaks was the third stateside start for Spirt And Glory, whose other two American outings were a last-to-first optional claiming score in June at Belmont Park and an even seventh-place finish in the Grade 3 Lake George in July at Saratoga.
Spirit And Glory trailed in 12th-of-14 under Irad Ortiz, Jr. in the Virginia Oaks, swinging four-wide at the top of the lane and steadily picking off rivals down the stretch to come home a 1 1/4-length winner in the nine-furlong test for sophomore fillies.
“That was a really good effort from her,” said Falcone, Jr. “I wanted to run her there because the stretch is a little longer and it gives her a little more time to get into her rhythm. Irad rode her really well. He had to go a little wide, but he saved every inch he could and tipped out when he needed to. She came out of it good.
“She’s a tricky filly to train, but she’s also really smart,” Falcone, Jr. added. “She messes around in the mornings a little bit, but as soon as they open the gates, she does nothing wrong. She’s all focused and all business.”
Spirit And Glory, who Falcone, Jr. co-owns with Michael Dubb, Beast Mode Racing and John Rochfort, could make her next outing in the Grade 2, $200,000 Sands Point on October 15 at the Big A.
“I’m going to get together with the owners, but I think the Sands Point is an option,” Falcone, Jr. said. “The other option would be Keeneland, but I would say she stays here.”
As of Wednesday morning, Falcone, Jr.’s wins for the year stand at 22, six behind his career-best of 28 in 2019. The 28-year-old conditioner, who started his first horse in 2014, said the support of his owners has allowed him to enjoy such a successful year.
“I’m very happy for every opportunity I get to train for a new owner,” said Falcone, Jr. “This year, me and my barn finally got to have a Euro in the barn with Spirit And Glory. I also was able to go to the 2-year-old sale for the first time and buy a few horses. I went from having 16 or 18 horses in the barn last year to 37 now. I think I’ve just finally gotten the opportunity.”
With a little over three months left to break his personal record of 28 wins in a single year, Falcone, Jr. said he looks forward to the challenge.
“I’ve got a good shot to do it. I’m excited for Remain Anonymous’ and Spirt and Glory’s next races. I want to get to 30 wins. We just keep trying, working and expanding. That’s all you can do,” said Falcone, Jr., with a laugh.
NYRA Press Office
Photo: Remain Anonymous wins the Dr. Teresa Garofalo Memorial at Parx (Barbara Weidl/EQUI-PHOTO)