LAUREL, MD – Three Diamonds Farm’s Kiss the Girl split horses down the stretch to win Saturday’s $100,000 Nellie Morse at Laurel Park for her second consecutive stakes win.
Trained by Michael Trombetta and ridden by Victor Carrasco, Kiss the Girl covered the 1 1/16 mile in 1:45.60.
A 5-year-old daughter of Into Mischief out of the unraced Hard Spun mare Spin the Bottle, Kiss the Girl, a stakes winner on dirt and turf, has now won eight of 23 starts. Prior to the Nellie Morse, Kiss the Girl won Laurel’s Geisha Jan. 29. The mare also won the All Brandy at Pimlico last year on the turf and was third earlier this year in the Ladies at Aqueduct.
“She’s been great and she’s quickly becoming one of my favorite horses,” Trombetta said.
Breaking cleanly from the gate, Carrasco and Kiss the Girl entered the first turn and the backstretch fourth while Smooth With a Kick was pressed by Artful Splatter past fractions of :23.66 and 47:16. Kiss the Girl moved into second along the rail around the final turn but Carrasco was forced to steady slightly trying to find a way between the two leaders. Past the eighth pole, Carrasco found a seam between a game Artful Splatter and a tiring Smooth With a Kick before driving away to a 1 ¼ length victory.
“She keeps surprising me,” Trombetta said. “She runs hard every time and today she had some adversity turning for home and Victor did a great job. He just had to regroup and get a little patient and find another avenue to get home. But she came through and he did a good job of helping her.”
Galerio Gets First Stakes Win in Campbell
Galerio, claimed in November for $50,000 by trainer John Salzman Jr. for owners Bird Mobberley LLC and Grady Griffin, held off a closing Forewarned to win the $100,000 John B. Campbell by a nose.
A 6-year-old gelding by Jump Start, Galerio has been a model of consistency throughout his career, winning 10 of 33 starts and placing second 15 times. Prior to her victory in Campbell, Galerio had finished third in the Jennings. Last summer she checked in third in the Salvatore Mile (G3) and second in four others stakes.
“Every race he runs in his life he runs his eyeballs out,” said Saltzman, who won two of the six stakes at Laurel Saturday. “He’s a very nice horse. The good part is to have owners like this. I called them, they never questioned [claiming him]. He does everything perfect. He’s an easy horse to train.”
While the 6-5 favorite Workin On a Dream and Gentleman Joe raced on the front through fractions of :23.83 and :46.66, jockey J.D. Acosta raced in third with Galerio before moving three-wide around the final turn and taking the lead above the eighth pole. A late rally by Forewarned wasn’t enough to catch the winner.
“It was close,” Acosta admitted. “The thing about this horse, he loves to finish second. He’s the kind of horse where you think you’re going to win by 20 turning for home and then he puts his head back and he starts running. When I saw that horse coming I said, ‘Not another second.’ But he got the job done.”
Galerio covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.67.