THE VERY ONE | PURSE: $100,000 | 4-YEAR-OLDS & UP | FILLIES & MARES | GRADE 3 | 1 ⅜ MILES (TURF)
Gallagher's Stud's Inimitable Romanee captured her second graded stakes in a row in Saturday's Grade 3, $100,000 The Very One Stakes at Gulfstream Park. The Graham Motion-trained six-year-old homebred was sent off as the 10-1 second longest shot on the board, despite being the only graded winner entered, and paid $22.40 for the win off the three-month break.
"She ran a big race, proved it wasn't a fluke in the Long Island [last time November 9]," Motion said. I wasn't too concerned [about the layoff]. We backed off of her a little bit -- I didn't want to come down here and run in every race. We had the idea of giving her a little break. She'd been running maybe not all year, but she had had a good go so we backed off of her a bit. She's had four or five breezes."
Inimitable Romanee bided her time in midpack as Viva Rafaela led the field through fractions of :25 ⅗, :49 ⅘, 1:15 ⅖ and 1:39 ⅗. Inimitable Romanee made her move three wide around the far turn, eventually drawing even to the leader with a furlong to go and kicked clear from the field by a length.
Inimitable Romanee covered 1 ⅜ miles in 2:15 ⅖ over the firm turf with Alan Garcia aboard.
"It was a good trip," Garcia said. "She broke good. She rated behind the speed. When she moved out, she kicked in. It was a really good feeling at the quarter-pole to have plenty of horse."
Aigue Marine got up for second by a neck over third-place finisher Viva Rafaela, who was a half-length in front of Left a Message in fourth. Preferential, the 8-5 favorite, was a neck back in fifth. Seanchai and Dame Marie brought up the rear. Anjaz acted up in the gate and was scratched.
"As soon as they closed the back door she started kicking it," said Tom Albertrani, who trains Anjaz. "She's had a tendency to do it in the past. We have schooled her and thought it was past us. We've had some tough luck with her."
"She's pretty easy to train," Motion said. "She's probably the most straightforward horse in the barn, so I wasn't too worried about the break at all. I was slightly concerned about maybe the step-up in competition. She was [25-1] in the Long Island so she had to prove that she wasn't just lucky that day. Even though she's been running against New York-breds, they're a pretty solid group of New York-breds the last two years."
Inimitable Romanee was exiting her first graded victory in the Long Island Handicap at Aqueduct in November. The gray had previously placed six times in New York-bred stakes company. Second in the Irish Linnet and third in the John Hettinger in 2012, the daughter of Maria's Mon finished second in the Mount Vernon and On the Bus, and third in the John Hettinger and Yaddo all last year. Her record now stands at 21-4-6-5 and $383,874 in lifetime earnings.
"I'm not surprised that she's come into herself, I should have tried her at a mile and a half about three years ago, I guess," Motion stated. "This was our first goal and I'm not going to be in a hurry to run her back. It's a long year. I am lucky that Mrs. Brody decided to keep her in training because she very easily could have sent her to the breeding shed. I feel very fortunate that she kept her going."
Inimitable Romanee sold for $210,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Selected Yearlings Sale. She is out of the Grade 3-winning Kissin Kris mare Cellars Shiraz, and this female family also includes Grade 3 victor It Happened Again.