Fair Maiden Rallies In La Brea, Giving Jockey Ricky Gonzalez First Grade 1 Win

In a streak of Godolphin Blue, the Eoin Harty-trained Fair Maiden blew by her competition late to take Saturday’s Grade 1, $300,000 La Brea Stakes by 2 ¼ lengths under upstart Ricky Gonzalez.  Fair Maiden, in her eighth career start, got seven furlongs in 1:22.69 on the Santa Anita main track in Arcadia, Calif.

Breaking from post position nine in a field of 10 sophomore fillies, Fair Maiden was mid-pack, about three lengths off the lead approaching the top of the lane while following the Bob Baffert-trained Golden Principal.  From there, Fair Maiden, who was six-deep off the turn, easily reeled in Golden Principal for an impressive victory, which provided Gonzalez with his first-ever Grade 1 triumph.

“Eoin (Harty) said she was doing really really well, to just put her in the race,” Gonzalez said. “There were quite a few speeds. ‘Just put her in the race get her clear and get her to the outside.’ We hit the stretch and as soon as we hit the stretch she went on the outside and was just full of run.

On recording his first Grade 1 victory, Gonzalez said, “I was just so happy and excited, to just ride these kinds of horses, it feels great. I’m very thankful to Eoin and all the trainers for all the opportunities.”

Most recently fourth in an ungraded six furlong stakes at Keeneland Nov. 7, Fair Maiden was off at 20-1 and paid $43.20, $18.60 and $10.00.

Owned and bred by Godolphin, LLC in Kentucky, Fair Maiden is by Street Boss out of the Smart Strike mare Shieldmaiden.  A minor stakes winner on turf in her third career start at Woodbine in August 2019, Fair Maiden collected her first graded stakes win on Saturday and improved her overall mark to 8-4-1-1.  With the winner’s share of $180,000, she increased her earnings to $321,278.

One of four Baffert trainees in the field, Golden Principal was off at 12-1 and paid $13.60 and $7.40 while finishing 1 ½ lengths in front of her stablemate Merneith.

Ridden by John Velazquez, Merneith was the second choice in the betting at 7-2 and paid $4.00 to show while finishing three quarters of length in front of post time favorite Finite, who is trained by Steve Asmussen.

Fractions on the race were 21.88, 44.59 and 1:09.92.

It’s just the way the things pan out when you get to that number two level. It’s hard to find a race against really competitive company,” Harty said, when asked why he switched  from synthetic surfaces and turf to dirt this year. “I didn’t want to keep taking her up to Woodbine so I found a spot in Churchill (winning a six-furlong allowance race) and that was a big question mark as to whether she would handle it there and she did. She was super professional that day and gave me a lot of confidence in bringing her out here for this.

“I’ve been watching Ricky ride since he came down here, and I think he’s the next superstar. He’s brave and he puts his horse in a spot to win. I grab him in every time I can because I think he’s a world-class rider, and today was his first Grade 1 win.”

The post Fair Maiden Rallies In La Brea, Giving Jockey Ricky Gonzalez First Grade 1 Win appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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