Sunday, January 04, 2009


ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 3, 2009) – Blocked behind rivals in deep stretch, Garrett Gomez finally maneuvered favored Jibboom between horses to emerge with a one-half length victory over longshot Christiana’s Heat Saturday in Santa Anita’s 42nd running of the Grade III, $100,000 Monrovia Handicap for fillies and mares while covering 6 ½ furlongs on turf in 1:13.21

The win seemed to confirm trainer Bobby Frankel’s notion that the 5-year-old roan mare, once thought by the Hall of Fame conditioner to be “my next (2007 Female champion) Ginger Punch,” may be best suited as a late-running sprinter.

As Gomez gained his third victory of the afternoon, Jibboom proved best in a driving finish that found four runners clustered at the wire. Christiana’s Heat, an 18-1 shot ridden by Michael Baze, edged a troubled Lethal Heat by one-half length for the place with La Tee a nose back in fourth.

Juddmonte Farms’ homebred daughter of Mizzen Mast paid $5.40, $3.40 and $2.60 for the win while Christiana’s Heat returned $12.40 and $6.20. The show price on Lethal Heat, ridden by Alex Solis, was $3.40.

“It looked like she might be beat,” Humberto Ascanio, Frankel’s chief assistant, said after the race. “I don’t know how this guy (Gomez) found his way through. She was much the best, I guess. She’s a nice filly.”

“It took me a while,” said Gomez, the nation’s leading rider in money-earned the past three years, “but I had to ease my way out slowly. I wanted to split No. 12 (Christiana’s Heat) and the three (La Tee) much earlier. But the 12 came down and tightened it up, so it took me about an eighth of a mile to get out. She’s got good tactical speed, and I’m glad Bobby decided to run her here. It’s just a matter of trying to find what suits her.”

Three of Jibboom’s four victories have been achieved sprinting, two of them on turf. The winning purse of $60,000 increased her career earnings to $337,600 for an overall record of 4-3-0 in nine starts.

The 40th running of the Grade II, $150,000 San Gorgonio Handicap, contested at 1 1/8 miles on turf, heads Sunday’s nine-race card at Santa Anita with first post at 12:30 p.m.

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