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OCEANPORT, NJ – Mr. Amore Stable homebred It’s a Gamble broke through for his first stakes score with a rallying stretch-run effort in Friday’s off-turf edition of the $100,000 Jersey Derby at Monmouth Park.
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It’s a Gamble broke from post 1 under Jose Baez at 9/2 odds and settled into a mid-pack stalking position as Spectatorless – at 50/1 the longest shot on the board – set a measured early tempo.
Indian Lake overtook him near the 1/4 pole and looked momentarily clear, but a rail-skimming It’s a Gamble shot up the inside and stole the lead just inside the 1/8 pole.
The Kelly Breen trainee crossed 1 3/4 lengths clear, completing the fast (sealed) mile in 1:40.70.
“The rail really opened up for me,” Baez said. “I was just sitting there, waiting to see what was going on. I waited long enough that the rail opened and I didn’t have to go around horses. I was a little worried about (Indian Lake) getting away from me. That’s probably why I asked my horse to go when I did.”
Despite allowing the winner to pass him late, Indian Lake was 8 3/4 lengths well clear of Spectatorless.
Hot Blooded, It Can Be Done, Riptide Rock, and Pickin’ Time completed the order of finish.
Bringing the Heat and Sifting Sands scratched after the race was taken off the turf.
It’s a Gamble’s win was his first on dirt and came in his second try over the surface, having finished fourth in the Damon Runyon Stakes against New York-breds. The English Channel colt improved his record to 9-3-1-0 with $176,327 earned.
“Even though this was just his second start on the dirt, he has trained well on it, so I wasn’t all that concerned when it came off the turf,” Breen said. “Everything set up for him. The rail opened up and he was able to find his way through. Since we shipped him from Florida to New York, his last race on the grass at Aqueduct was really nice, he has been training well. I believe that he’s a nice horse – dirt, turf, whatever. Sometimes, horses make the lead and they think the race is over. That may have been what happened to the horse who was in front that we were able to run down. I’m not sure. But it doesn’t take anything away from the way my horse ran.”
It’s a Gamble returned $11.20 to win, $5.60 to place, and $3.80 to show. Indian Lake brought back $3.60 to place and $3.60 to show. Spectatorless paid $9.60 to show.
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