SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Robert Lambe and Chad Anshelewitz’s Golden Rocket made her stakes debut a winning one in Thursday’s $150,000 NYSSS Statue of Liberty, a one-mile inner turf test for eligible New York-sired sophomore fillies, at Saratoga Race Course.
Trained by Patricia Farro and patiently handled by Jose Gomez, the Alpha chestnut went to post as the 33-1 longest shot on the board, but confidently blew by her rivals in deep stretch to secure the half-length win. The victory provided the first Saratoga stakes score for both trainer and jockey.
“It feels awesome, it’s the best feeling in the world,” said Gomez.
Stakes-winner Howdyoumakeurmoney shot to the lead from post 5 and marked off splits of 23.31 seconds and 47.13 over the firm going with Busy Morning, the 9-5 mutuel favorite under Jose Lezcano, stalking seven lengths back in second position.
Busy Morning advanced with purpose through the final turn with the Irad Ortiz, Jr.-piloted Royal Dancer following her move and Golden Rocket stirring into motion. Busy Morning took command in upper stretch only to be confronted and overtaken by Royal Dancer with an eighth of a mile to run, but it was Golden Rocket, with powerful strides, that moved best late to secure the win in a final time of 1:36.22.
Royal Dancer completed the exacta by 1 1/4-lengths over Busy Morning with Dream Central, Robyn and Eli, Howdyoumakeurmoney, Eros’s Girl and Tara Dancer completing the order of finish.
Gomez said he felt comfortable throughout.
“I felt like she was always in my hands,” Gomez said. “I had her nice and relaxed and she wasn’t fighting me. I just tried to slowly make my way out and in the stretch she got clear and just ran home.”
Golden Rocket, out of the Touch Gold mare Taty’s Gold, was saddled by Farro’s assistant – and husband – Mike Farro.
“She’s probably glowing like a worm. This is awesome. I’ve won a couple races here, but this is awesome,” said Mike Farro.
The victory also provided a thrill for her owners, who claimed Golden Rocket’s half-brother, Matty’s Express, for $30,000 in August 2020 and won a state-bred allowance here with him last summer.
Anshelewitz said he was hopeful lightning would strike twice with the productive family after haltering Golden Rocket for nearly half that amount.
“We knew the New York-bred program. Mike and Patricia have done a great job with her,” Anshelewitz said. “We wanted to make sure what she was, if she was just a claimer, and every day he liked her more and more and he said ‘Let’s get permission. Let’s take a chance,’ and here we are. She’s going to be protected a little bit [now].”
A maiden winner at fourth asking in January over the Tampa Bay Downs turf, Golden Rocket was claimed for $16,000 in June out of a runner-up effort in a 1 1/16-mile turf route at Monmouth Park. She followed with a rallying one-length starter allowance score in her first start for new connections on July 3 at Monmouth ahead of a last out off-the-board effort at the Oceanport, New Jersey oval.
Bred in the Empire State by Ballybrit Stables, Golden Rocket banked $82,500 in victory, while improving her record to 8-3-1-2. She paid $68.50 for a $2 win ticket.
Live racing continues Friday at Saratoga with a 10-race card, featuring the $135,000 Summer Colony in Race 8 and the $150,000 Skidmore in Race 10. First post is 1:05 p.m. Eastern.
Saratoga Live will present daily coverage and analysis of the summer meet at Saratoga Race Course on the networks of FOX Sports. For the complete broadcast schedule, visit https://www.nyra.com/saratoga/racing/tv-schedule
NYRA Bets is the official wagering platform of Saratoga Race Course, and the best way to bet every race of the summer meet. Available to horse players nationwide, the NYRA Bets app is available for download today on iOS and Android at www.NYRABets.com
By Keith McCalmont/NYRA Press Office
Photo: Golden Rocket with Jose Gomez in the irons steals the NYSSS Statue of Liberty (Chelsea Durand)