There was a general feeling of deja vu at Churchill Downs this past Saturday as WinStar Farms-owned and Todd Pletcher-trained colt, Gemologist, stood in the winner’s circle after winning the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes. It was nearly two years to the day that another 2-year-old colt from the same owner/trainer stood in that winner’s circle…and that colt, Super Saver, went on to win the 2010 Kentucky Derby.
Gemologist, the son of the tenacious two-time winner of the Breeders’ Cup Classic, Tiznow, has now won all three of his career starts. He broke his maiden at Turfway Park in late September and then went on to win an allowance race at Churchill Downs in October. He came into the Grade 2, $178,000 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes as the second choice behind 8-5 favorite, Ever So Lucky.
Ridden by jockey Javier Castellano, Gemologist was a close second out of the gate to Ever So Lucky who set the early pace. Seve, a 43-1 longshot, took a brief lead before fading, leaving Ever So Luck and Gemologist to battle it out down the stretch. And battle it out they did as the two were neck-and-neck until the final few furlongs when Gemologist finally pulled ahead to win by 1 3/4-lengths. Gemologist paid $8.60 after he covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.46 on a fast track.
Kenny Trout, owner of WinStar Farms, credited president Elliott Walden with the foresight to not rush Gemologist into the Breeders’ Cup. Instead, they see the Jockey Club Stakes as the perfect race to prepare and set up the horse for a solid 3-year-old run in 2012. There’s no doubt they are hoping for another bout of deja vu come the first Saturday in May with Gemologist wearing the garland of roses just like Super Saver did in 2010.