Go Maggie Go captures Gulfstream Park Oaks
The duo took up a stalking spot just outside of pacesetter Paola Queen through the half-mile in :23.09 and :46.70. Off the Tracks was staying in close contact as well about three wide a bit farther back, and began her move at about the same time as Go Maggie Go, who slipped up to run in tandem with Paola Queen.
Go Maggie Go continued motoring and had taken command upon entering the lane, but Paola Queen and Off the Tracks were tenacious to her inside and outside. They never could catch her, though, as the Ghostzapper filly crossed under the wire 2 1/4 lengths clear in a final time of 1:43.74 for 1 1/16 miles over the sloppy, sealed, dirt.
Despite her relative inexperience, Go Maggie Go was sent off the 4-1 third choice against this bunch and returned $10 for the win. The Dale Romans-trained bay filly also took home 100 points toward a starting berth in the May 6 Kentucky Oaks (G1) as the Gulfstream Park Oaks is part of the Road to the Kentucky Oaks series of points races.
Paola Queen proved best of the rest by a half-length over 4-5 favorite Off the Tracks, who in turn finished 5 1/2 lengths better than 7-2 second choice Gomo in fourth.
Go Maggie Go is now two-for-two in her career and has banked $175,900 in lifetime earnings. Bred in Kentucky, she is out of the Tale of the Cat mare Magibel, making her a half-sister to Grade 2 victor Wallyanna.
Go Maggie Go photo courtesy of Adam Coglianese Photography
GULFSTREAM PARK OAKS QUOTES
Dale Romans, trainer Go Maggie Go, winner: “She’s just quality, and when they’re doing as good as her and they’re the quality she is, you can run in an a-other-than and win by 15 and say why didn’t I run in a stake? There was only seven horses in here. If you run third you’re worth a lot of money. If she can do that, she can win so why not be here? We can always back up for a $50,000 pot.
“She had one start, sprinting, so going two turns the first time you would expect to be close to the pace. Anytime you have speed, that’s another reason for running (Takeittotheedge) in the Florida Derby ([G1] later in the day), anytime you have speed on this racetrack speed is dangerous.”
Romans on his second straight Gulfstream Park Oaks win: “It’s just the way things have fallen. I’m not that much of a planner. When the horses are doing good we run, and it’s just coincidence.”
Romans on Go Maggie Go targeting the Kentucky Oaks (G1): “I would think so. We’ll train her and if she’s training good and doing good like she was going into this, that’s the key. You have to just know when they’re doing good. She was training so good, why not take a shot?”
Luis Saez, jockey Go Maggie Go, winner: “I had a perfect trip. She broke good and was right there. When we came to the half-mile pole and I asked her, I had a lot of horse. In the stretch I thought somebody might come and get me, but when I hit her, she responded.”
Javier Castellano, jockey Paola Queen, second: “Good trip. I wanted to dictate the pace. The field was tough and we beat some nice horses today. A lot of credit to my horse. She ran huge.”
Todd Pletcher, trainer Off the Tracks, third: “I thought she ran OK, (jockey) Johnny (Velazquez) thought she didn’t really handle the muddy surface that well. She put in a pretty good move on the turn and then kinda flattened out a little bit. I thought that considering it was her first time in the slop and around two turns that it was credible, but Johnny felt that she really didn’t like the wet surface.”
Doug O’Neill, trainer Gomo, fourth: “I thought she ran dynamite off the layoff. To run fourth in the Florida Oaks is sensational off the layoff. The track was heavy, so I thought she ran great. This race will really tighten her up for the Kentucky Oaks. We’ll plan for that and play it by ear.”