“It feels so good, I could almost cry” Gonzales said while heading back to the jockey’s room following the race. “I worked real hard for this.”
“I saw horses together on the rail and knew I couldn’t get past, so I went outside and went clear,” Gonzales said. “Then my horse just took off and ran away.”
With one quick rush, Gonzales and Empire Builder made the lead, opening up a four-length advantage on the field before holding off a late charge from odds-on favorite Csaba in the final yards to prevail by a half length. Csaba was later disqualified and placed third for causing interference to Musical Flair on the turn.
Empire Builder paid $17.80, $5.00, and $3.40 for the win. Musical Flair returned $6.80 and $3.20 when an adjudged second, while Csaba brought back $2.40 for third.
Completing the order of finish was Two Is to Many, El Romano, and Miami Cat.
Bred in Kentucky by Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey, Empire Builder, a son of Kitten’s Joy, has now won three of nine starts and boasts a career bankroll of $85,805.The win in the Mambo Meister was Empire Builder’s first career victory on dirt.