Eskenformoney Rallies Down the Lane to Win Rampart at Gulfstream
Eskenformoney won her first graded stakes race Saturday, rallying past the pacesetters to win the $100,000 Rampart Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream.
“It’s nice to see her get that [graded win]. She deserved it,” said trainer Todd Pletcher of Eskenformoney. “She had knocked on the door several times this summer and had just missed and as a 3-year-old, as well. She seems to like Gulfstream. She’s always consistently run well here and it’s good to see her pick up a graded win.”
As expected, the two favorites Curlin’s Approval and Genre dueled on the front end through six furlongs in 109.71. But Eskenformoney steadily inched in closer, letting out three wide entering the head of the lane before digging in through the deep stretch to win by ¾ of a length over race favorite Curlin’s Approval. Genre was 1 1/2 lengths behind in third.
“Talking to [jockeys] Johnny [Velazquez, aboard Genre] and Javier [Castellano] before the race, we said it looks like you want to be involved early so the strategy was to come out running with both of them,” Pletcher said. “I think Genre just showed a little more natural speed. Javier made a conscious effort to try to stay as close as he could and was kind of pecking at [Curlin’s Approval] down the backside to maintain that position and it worked out.”
Eskenformoney went off at 5-1 odds and returned $13.20 to win, $4.40 to place and $2.80 to show. Her final time covering 1 mile was 1:35.47. Curlin’s Approval was the only 3-year-old filly in the field of 7, and she finished second to pay $2.40 in her first start beyond seven furlongs.
“This was her first race in 56 days. I think she’s at her best when she runs every month to six weeks, so we’ll see,” owner Happy Alter said as he considers upcoming races for Curlin’s Approval including the $100,000 Hurricane Bertie (G3) Jan. 28 and $200,000 Inside Information (G2) March 18, both at seven furlongs.
The victory in the Rampart was trainer Todd Pletcher’s second of the day after saddling Stanford as the Harlan’s Holiday winner.