Robert Lothenbach’s Gotta Go rallied from off the pace to just beat Lone Sailor by a head after a thrilling stretch battle in Sunday’s fifth running of the $83,001 Street Sense Overnight Stakes on opening day of Churchill Downs’ 21-day Fall Meet.
The victory by Gotta Go gave trainer Ian Wilkes his second straight victory in the race. Last fall, McCraken won by 3 ¾ lengths and would go on to win a trio of graded stakes and finish eighth in the Kentucky Derby.
Ridden by Wilkes’ son-in-law Chris Landeros, Gotta Go clocked one mile in 1:37.48 over a fast track.
“He beat a solid field of horses today,” Wilkes said. “The runner-up just ran third in the (Grade I) Breeders’ Futurity so he had a lot more experience than we did.”
Twin Farms, Rubus and Breeders’ Futurity runner-up Bravazo led the field of 10 2-year-olds into the turn after fractions of :22.55 and :45.66 as Lone Sailor raced in mid-pack and Gotta Go traveled a couple of lengths behind him. Bravazo took over midway around the turn in 1:11.76. Lone Sailor, from the inside, and Gotta Go, on the outside, drew even with an eighth of mile to run and battled stride-for-stride to the wire with Gotta Go prevailing in the final jump.
“I’m so proud of his effort today,” Landeros said. “He’s like a big kid and is still learning. When we were closing late in the stretch he saw the horse to the inside and really stuck his head down to get the win. The future seems very bright for him to be able to show that ability against a field like this.”
Sent off at 8-1, Gotta Go paid $18.60, $9.80 and $5.40. Lone Sailor, the 4-1 fourth betting choice, returned $5.60 and $3.20 under Florent Geroux. Bravazo, ridden by Jon Court, was another 3 ¼ lengths back in third and paid $4.20 at odds of 7-1.
Renaisance Frolic, 5-2 favorite Honorable Treasure, Ebben, Souper Smart, Netas, Rubus and Twin Farms followed.
Gotta Go, who broke his maiden at Churchill Downs on Sept. 17 by 4 ¾ lengths in his second start, earned $48,950 for his connections and improved his record to 3-2-0-0—$80,510. He is a gray or roan Shanghai Bobby colt out of the Unbridled’s Song mare Disturbingly Hot, and was bred in Kentucky by Machmer Hall.
“This horse is coming along slowly in his training and still learning a lot,” Wilkes said. “If he comes out of this race fine we’ll look to the Kentucky Jockey Club for his next start.”
The $200,000 Kentucky Jockey Club (Grade II), a 1 1/16-mile race for 2-year-olds at Churchill Downs, will be run on Saturday, Nov. 25. The Kentucky Jockey Club is part of the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” point series that will determine the field of 20 horses that will compete in the $2 million-guaranteed Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (GI) at Churchill Downs on Saturday, May 5.
The Street Sense is named in honor of 2007 Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense who became the first horse to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (GI) as a 2-year-old and the Run for the Roses at age 3. He also was the first Champion Two-Year-Old Colt to win the Kentucky Derby since Spectacular Bid who won the Kentucky Derby in 1979. Wilkes was the chief assistant to Hall of Fame trainer Carl Nafzger during that run.
STREET SENSE STAKES QUOTES
Chris Landeros, jockey of GOTTA GO (winner): “I’m so proud of his effort today. He’s like a big kid and is still learning. When we were closing late in the stretch he saw the horse to the inside and really stuck his head down to get the win. The future seems very bright for him to be able to show that ability against a field like this.”
Ian Wilkes, trainer of GOTTA GO (winner): “He beat a solid field of horses today. The runner-up (Lone Sailor) just ran third in the Breeders’ Futurity (Grade I) so he had a lot more experience than we did. This horse is coming along slowly in his training and still learning a lot. If he comes out of this race fine we’ll look to the (Nov. 25) Kentucky Jockey Club for his next start.”
Tom Amoss, trainer of LONE SAILOR (runner-up): “He was in a battle today and at times had to wait for room. There were just a lot of things that contributed to winning or losing the race. But I was really pleased that when they’re in those kinds of races a lot of young horses will give up, and he didn’t do that. He fought and he ran to the wire. We’re looking forward to running two turns. Quite honestly, I never make too many plans right after a race, but I’m sure the owners and I, when we see if he comes out of the race in good shape, we’ll want to try the (Kentucky) Jockey Club if he does.”