Wednesday, September 19, 2012
GEEKY GORGEOUS IS FREAKY GOOD
OCEANPORT, NJ- She was such a small, unattractive and unimpressive foal that her owner and breeder saddled her with the name Geeky Gorgeous. These days, the New Jersey-bred dark bay filly looks mighty good to Daniel Lopez.
The 3-year daughter of Devil His Due out of the Pure Prize mare Thatholeinmypocket started off this past Saturday’s New Jersey Thoroughbred Festival at Monmouth Park by drawing off through the lane to win the first race by five and three quarter lengths. The dominating performance was merely another day at the office for the filly.
As a juvenile, the filly ran four times, all at Monmouth in state-bred races, and she won once and finished third three times. After giving her the entire winter off at his Joe-Dan Farm in Medford, New Jersey, Lopez brought her back to Monmouth to begin her sophomore campaign at the start of the meet in May.
So far during the 2012 season, Geeky Gorgeous has taken on state-bred fillies and mares her age and older, New Jersey-bred older males, and open company horses of her gender and she has still never finished out of the money. Moreover, in her five races this year she’s now won three by a combined total of almost 18 lengths, and she finished a solid second in the other two contests.
“She’s earned almost $114,000 this year and that’s almost $20,000 per start,” said Lopez, who bought her dam while in foal. “Geeky has turned out to be pretty good. She’s a nice, hard-knocking mare and she’s sound. It really is nice to have one like her in the barn.”
Lopez, who grew up in the show horse world on Long Island, New York and was an alternate for the United States Equestrian team that competed in the 1964 Olympics, has had a lot of good ones during the 40-plus years the owner and breeder has trained Thoroughbreds. Razzle Dazzle Rey, Stonewalk, and Arromanches, the sire of current multiple graded stakes winner Caixa Electronica, come immediately to mind.
“Razzle Dazzle Rey set the track record at Monmouth for 1 mile 70 yards. I claimed Arromanches (in 2001) when he was a maiden and won five in a row with him during his 10-race winning streak. He was a classy old horse,” said Lopez.
The same can be said for Stonewalk, a multiple graded stakes winner who finished third in the Grade 1 Haskell Handicap in 1975 and second in the Grade 1 United Nations Handicap that same summer. A career earner of more than a half-million dollars, Stonewalk also won the Gotham Stakes, Ohio Derby, Jerome Handicap and Massachusetts Handicap, which were all grade 2 races in that era, as well as the Grade 3 Hawthorne Derby and the Ak-Sar-Ben Cornhusker Handicap.
“He beat Foolish Pleasure in New York, but we couldn’t ever beat Forego” Lopez reminisced. “He made over a half-million dollars in his day (when purses weren’t as rich as they are now). I made over a half-million with Born to Shop, too.”
Arromanches won 31 of 78 races, Stonewalk won 14 of 36 starts, and Born to Shop won 22 of his 64 races during his long and storied career from 1987-1992.
“That was back when they used to run every 10 days to two weeks. Born to Shop was able to race from (ages) three to eight,” said Lopez. “I still have him. He’s 28 now and blind in both eyes, but he’s with me on my farm and he gets around pretty good.”
Lopez currently has 13 mares, nine yearlings, and seven babies on the farm he has operated for 35 years. Hey Chub is the only stallion. On New Jersey Thoroughbred Festival day, Cheddar Chub, the stallion’s first foal to get to the races, made his first start in the maiden special weight restricted to juveniles, and he finished fifth in the full field of 12.
If all goes according to plan, Geeky Gorgeous may race again at Monmouth before live racing ends on October 7 and then she might venture to another track for the first time in her career.
“Hopefully, she can run against open company in a (non-winners of a) two-other-than (allowance race),” said Lopez. “She has turned out to be a nice filly.”
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