Bob Baffert’s top three-year-old American Pharoah may have gone down to defeat in yesterday’s Travers Stakes, but Baffert’s other talented sophomore Gimme Da Lute continued his winning ways with a solid triumph in the $100,000 El Cajon Stakes at Del Mar.
By Midnight Lute out of the Proud Citizen mare Casino Gold, Gimme Da Lute has quietly been compiling a strong record throughout the summer, winning the Affirmed Stakes (gr. III) and Los Alamitos Derby (gr. II) before adding the Real Good Deal Stakes earlier this month. Sent off as the 1-5 favorite against three rivals in the one-mile El Cajon, Gimme Da Lute settled two lengths off the early lead through a quarter-mile in :22.48, then moved up to engage stablemate Fame and Power for the lead through a half-mile in :45.62 and six furlongs in 1:10.27. Despite being carried outward as Fame and Power drifted through the homestretch, Gimme Da Lute battled on gamely to seize a narrow lead at the eighth pole and eventually crossed the wire a half-length in front. The final time was a quick 1:35.79 seconds. Desert Dynamo tracked the pace throughout and finished third, just a neck behind Fame and Power, while Thanksgiving Day trailed the field. A claim of foul by the rider of Desert Dynamo against Gimme Da Lute was disallowed.
“When you’ve only got three or four horses in a race, it’s harder to figure out what’s going to happen.” winning jockey Martin Garcia was quoted as saying on the Del Mar website. “They all wanted to go for the lead in that first turn, so I let them go. Then we went to work. I know that rider (Flavien Prat on Desert Dynamo) claimed foul, but he was always behind me and never going to get past. My horse is a fighter. He did that today.”
Mike Marlow, an assistant trainer to Bob Baffert, also thought that the small field contributed to the slightly surprising trip for Gimme Da Lute. “It was kind of a funny run race. It was good early, then it looked like Martin (Garcia) might have made a bit of a premature move. But watching the replay, he had more room than it looked like from the stands when he went through (between horses) there. He ran a game race, he ran tough. He had every reason to get beat and he didn’t.”
Owned by Karl Watson, Mike Pegram, and Paul Weitman, Gimme Da Lute has compiled a record of six wins from nine starts and has never finished worse than third. Now riding a four-race win streak, Gimme Da Lute is a possible starter for the $1,000,000 Pennsylvania Derby (gr. II) on September 19th at Parx Racing, and given his affinity for two-turn mile/nine-furlong races, he could be a major contender for the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (gr. I) on October 30th at Keeneland.
2015 El Cajon Stakes Slideshow