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ARCADIA, CA – Trainer Phil D’Amato’s Gregorian Chant rallied hard in the stretch to neck out Sombeyay in Saturday’s $100,000 San Simeon Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita Park.
Gregorian Chant broke from post 2 under Juan Hernandez as the 7/2 second choice and lingered near the rear of the compact six-horse field.
The even-money favorite Jolie Olimpica, the field’s lone female, dueled outside of defending champion Cistron down the backstretch and through the far turn, but Sombeyay and Gregorian Chant came running three- and four-wide by the top of the stretch.
Sombeyay overtook Jolie Olimpica near the 1/16 pole, but Gregorian Chant kept churning on his outside and eventually got up in time to win the 6-furlong good turf sprint by a neck in 1:08.79.
“He’s a really cool horse; he loves to run at the end part,” Hernandez said. “He broke slow and I just let him get comfortable in the back, and then when we went into the stretch, Phil had told me to get him rolling and that’s what I did. The horse is a nice horse he helped me a lot in the stretch I went out and he did the rest to win the race.”
Somebyay was 2 1/2 lengths clear of Jolie Olimpica, who necked out Cistron for third. Barristan The Bold and Bob and Jackie completed the order of finish.
Shashashakemeup (the winner’s stablemate) and Sparky Ville scratched
Gregorian Chant’s win was his second straight since cutting back to turf sprints and followed the local Clocker’s Corner Stakes over this course and distance last time out. The British-bred 5-year-old gelded son of Gregorian, who routed in his first 11 stateside starts, improved his record to 14-5-0-2 with $225,013 earned for co-owners Old Bones Racing Stable, Slam Dunk Racing, and Michael Nentwig.
“It took us a while to figure out what he wanted to do,” D’Amato said. “This horse has found his home sprinting, no question. There’s so much difference in him now, compared to him at 3 and 4 (years old). He’s matured a lot and we will definitely keep him short.”
Gregorian Chant returned $9.80 to win, $4.20 to place, and $2.20 to show. Sombeyay brought back $4.80 to place and $2.60 to show. Jolie Olimpica paid $2.10 to show.
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