After Garrett Gomez gunned Gentle Romeo to the early lead, the comebacker dominated the field, denying a stretch bid from runner-up All Man to win by 2 ¼ lengths while racing the distance in a rapid 1:20.32 over Santa Anita’s Pro-Ride surface.
Sent off as the second choice, Gentle Romeo paid $8.40, $4.40 and $3.80. The prices on All Man were $4.40 and $3.40 with Ramsgate paying $4 to show.
Bred in California by co-owners Martin and Pam Wygod, the victorious son of Benchmark had won his debut by nearly three lengths at Hollywood Park in July of last year before going on the shelf following a poor showing in an optional claimer at Del Mar.
Trained at the time by John Shirreffs, Gentle Romeo returned to win an allowance race at Hollywood Park in November before again hitting the sidelines, this time for eleven months.
Gentle Romeo’s third win in four career starts was worth $36,600 to Martin, Emily and Pam Wygod while boosting the bay gelding’s career earnings to $100,060.
Oak Tree racing continues Thursday at Santa Anita with first post at 1 p.m.