Gregorian Chant sings for a rally to take the San Simeon GIII by a neck

March 14, 2021

ARCADIA, Calif.—Long regarded as a two-turn horse on grass, trainer Phil D’Amato’s 5-year-old Gregorian Chant has found a home sprinting on turf at Santa Anita, as he rallied from last to take Saturday’s Grade III, $100,000 San Simeon Stakes by a neck while getting six furlongs on turf in 1:08.79 under Juan Hernandez—his second consecutive turf stakes win at the distance.

Unhurried early from his number two post position, Gregorian Chant was into the bridle, about four lengths off the lead while a joint fifth heading to the far turn as heavily favored Jolie Olimpica showed the way.  Moving easily around the turn, Hernandez wheeled four-deep turning for home and in a thriller, outran Sombeyay and Flavien Prat late.

“He broke slow and I just let him get comfortable (on the backstretch) and then when we went into the stretch, Phil told me to get him rolling and that’s what I did,” said Hernandez, who also orchestrated a 2 ¼ length win in the ungraded Clockers’ Corner Stakes here on Jan. 24.  “…It’s exciting fighting with another horse, going head and head, you feel excited and you feel strong.  You just want to win the race.”

Off at 7-2 in a field of six older horses, Gregorian Chant, who was bred in England, paid $9.80, $4.20 and $2.20.

“It took us awhile to figure out what he wanted to do,” said D’Amato.  “This horse has found his home sprinting, no question.  There’s so much difference in him now, compared to him at three and four (years old).  He’ matured a lot and we will definitely keep him short.”

Ridden by Flavien Prat and trained by Peter Miller, Sombeyay was attentive to the pace, made the lead turning for home and couldn’t hold the winner off while finishing 2 ½ lengths in front of Jolie Olimpica.  Off at 4-1, Sombeyay paid $4.80 and $2.60.

Richard Mandella’s Brazilian-bred mare Jolie Olimpica, who went to the front out of the gate under Mike Smith and was head and head into and around the turn, couldn’t run with the top two late and paid $2.10 to show while off at even money.

Fractions on the race were 22.72, 45.52 and 57.32

San Simeon Replay:

Santa Anita Press Release

Photo: Gregorian chant, (Benoit)

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