DEL MAR, CA – Exline Border Racing and Gatto Racing’s Giant Expectations met and exceeded his name, rallying powerfully in the stretch to win convincingly in Saturday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Pat O’Brien Stakes.
The Pat O’Brien was a Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In race, giving Giant Expectations an all-fees-waived entry into the Breeders’ Cup Las Vegas Dirt Mile on November 3 at Del Mar.
Running a stalking trip under jockey Gary Stevens, Giant Expectations sat back six-wide and watched Moe Candy set splits of :22.69 and :45.14 into the far turn. Exiting four-wide onto the stretch, Giant Expectations rallied strongly and caught new leader Calculator in the deep stretch to prevail by 1 1/2 lengths at the wire in a final time of 1:21.08 for the 7-furlong main track event.
“He broke sharp and he was right in it,” Stevens said. “I used one of his gears a little earlier than I wanted to to get position. There was some ‘jockeying’ going on out there. We were going in and out, but my horse loved it (the competition). He’s a bulldog. I rode him last time and he ran great. I thought he was sitting on something big. He showed it today, and I think he’ll actually be better off if they run him a mile. He’ll have more time to settle going into that first turn and I expect he’ll run big.”
Calculator was second-best, finishing 2 3/4 lengths ahead of third-place runner Silent Bird. Mr. Hinx, Solid Wager, Kobe’s Back, Blameitonthelaw, Home Run Kitten, Denman’s Call, and Moe Candy completed the order of finish.
Unraced at 2 and winless in six attempts at 3, Giant Expectations has progressed immensely for trainer Peter Eurton in his 4-year-old season. The victory here improved his record to 10-3-3-1 (4-3-1-0 in 2017) with career earnings of $253,200.
“He showed up today and I’m really proud of him,” Eurton said. “Gary chose him over Kobe’s Back basically because of the youth. I didn’t think he would run this big, but I’m glad he did. We’re pretty happy right now.”
Giant Expectations returned $11.40 to win, $6 to place, and $3.40 to show. Calculator brought back $8 to place and $4.40 to show, while Silent Bird paid $4.20 to show.