When longshot Lord Kipling ranged up near favored Delosvientos on the far turn of Wednesday’s $84,050, 1 5/8th mile Gallant Fox Handicap, owner and trainer Giuseppe Iadisernia was not in the least worried. For almost 11 furlongs, the five-year-old gelding had been cruising along on an uncontested lead, and if past history was any indication, Delosvientos would handle the challenge with ease.
And that’s just what he did. Shaking off his rival, Delosvientos pulled clear to an 11 ¼-length victory in the 70th edition of the Gallant Fox a snowy New Year’s Eve, extending his record at 12 furlongs or more to five-for-five.
Also enjoying the final day of 2008 were Gary Contessa, who won his third straight New York training title with 150 victories, and jockey Alan Garcia, who won his first New York riding title with 220 wins.
“What a great year, the best of my career,” said Garcia, who departs New York on January 1 to ride in Florida for the winter. “Winning the Belmont Stakes with Da’ Tara, taking the Saratoga riding title – it was all so exciting. I’d like to thank Kiaran McLaughlin and Christophe Clement and Nick Zito and Jimmy Toner and all the trainers and owners who who gave me the opportunity.”
The star of the afternoon was Delosvientos, who under jockey Eddie Castro quickly bounded into the clear, rolling through fractions of 49.33, 1:13.83, 1:40.26 and 2:07.39 before Ramon Dominguez rallied Lord Kipling up from midpack. But his bid fell short and Delosvientos galloped uncontested to the wire, completing the 13 furlongs in 2:49.33 over the fast track.
“This horse has natural speed and he was able to relax on the lead,” said Castro. “When the other horse came to me at the quarter-pole, he just pulled away when I asked. He’s got such a nice long stride it felt like he could go around again.”
Lord Kipling was 7 ½ lengths in front of Canela, who in turn was followed by Critical Acclaim, Amped, Irish Majesty, Senior, Jade’s Revenge, and Lorccan.
Sent off at 4-5 by the crowd of 2,010, Delosvientos returned $3.60 for a $2 win bet and wrapped up his 2008 campaign with five victories in eight starts. The winner’s purse of $50,430 extended his bankroll to $361,800.
“The only trouble with him is finding longer races on the dirt,” said Iadisernia. “He’ll have about 60 days off and during that time we’ll figure out what will be next for him.”
GALLANT FOX HANDICAP QUOTES
Winning owner and trainer Giuseppe Iadisernia of No. 4, Delosvientos: “This was a wonderful way to finish up the year. Having so much time off was not ideal, but I was not concerned. The only trouble with him is finding longer races on the dirt. He’ll have about 60 days off and during that time we’ll figure out what will be next for him.”
Winning jockey Eddie Castro: “This horse has natural speed and he was able to relax on the lead. When the other horse came to me at the quarter-pole, he just pulled away when I asked. He’s got such a nice long stride it felt like he could go around again.”