Gala Brand the ‘Pride and Joy’ of Arnmore Thoroughbreds

September 3, 2023

The very flashy Gala Brand bests the boys in the With Anticipation (Susie Raisher)

NYRA Press Office

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y.— Megan Jones, managing partner of Arnmore Thoroughbreds, cannot help but speak blessings of newly minted graded stakes winner Gala Brand, who defeated males in Thursday’s Grade 3, $175,000 With Anticipation for juveniles going 1 1/16 miles over the inner turf at Saratoga Race Course.

Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott and owned by Arnmore Thoroughbreds in partnership with Even Keel Thoroughbreds, Gala Brand was a sharp debut winner on August 3 going 5 1/2 furlongs on the Mellon turf. The Violence chestnut was cross-entered in both the With Anticipation as well as the previous day’s $150,000 P.G. Johnson against fellow fillies, opting for the former when the latter race was taken off the turf.

In the With Anticipation, Gala Brand took to the rear of the field with Market Street setting a moderate tempo on the front end. She advanced to a close fourth in the stretch call and outbattled a game Carson’s Run to her inside to win by a half-length and produce a 71 Beyer Speed Figure.

Gala Brand is a fan favorite in the making with her eye-catching color pattern that features white splotches on her underside and tall white markings on all four legs.

“She’s very special to me just as a horse because of the way that she is. She’s the type of horse that you want to be around every single day,” Jones said. “She kind of pulls you in and draws you to her. She’s my pride and joy. She has a lot of leg to her. She’s a tall, stretchy horse. She has that internal quality that all the good fillies seem to have. We go buy fillies that we hope will be good broodmare prospects down the line to build our broodmare band.

“As long as you like the horse as an individual, you’re in a good spot and anything they do on the track is just icing on the cake,” Jones continued. “To come here and win first out on debut and then come back and do what she did against the boys in the Grade 3 was everything we needed.”

Gala Brand was acquired by Jones at the 2022 Keeneland September Yearling Sale for $30,000. She is out of the graded/group stakes-winning Lord of England mare Olorda who captured the The Very One going 1 3/16 miles at Gulfstream Park and Bewitch going 1 1/2 miles at Keeneland in 2016 – both Grade 3 events.

Jones said she expected Gala Brand to be an eventual two-turn horse given her pedigree.

“She’s always shown a great deal of talent in the morning,” Jones said. “I know it was kind of a softer group in the maiden race going 5 1/2 furlongs but the way she’s built, that should have been her toughest task and I think she’ll enjoy stretching out. I would have thought that 5 1/2 [furlongs] would have been her only impediment, but obviously she did that easily enough.”

Earlier this summer, Arnmore Thoroughbreds Poppy Flower, bred by Jones and Brenda Harding, secured graded stakes honors in the Grade 3 Intercontinental on June 9 at Belmont Park for Mott.

“As far as how special it was, it ranks right up there with anything,” Jones said. “When Poppy Flower won the graded stake in June, we bred her and raced the mother and she was an RNA that nobody wanted at the sale, that was pretty gratifying too. She’s also pretty special to me. I would say Gala’s right up there with her. That meant the world to us because I bought [Gala Brand] on my own account.”

Jones said she and Mott will let the dust settle before deciding on a next target for Gala Brand. Other graded stakes events for 2-year-old fillies on turf include the Grade 2, $200,000 Miss Grillo on October 2 at Belmont at the Big A and the Grade 2 Jessamine on October 6 at Keeneland. Both races boast “Win And You’re In” status for the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf on November 3 at Santa Anita.

“We’ll basically nominate around and wait until she tells us she’s ready,” Jones said.

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