Go Greeley continued his winning form with a hard-fought score in Sunday’s $150,000 Vandal Stakes, at Woodbine.
Owned and trained by John Ross, the dark bay son of Horse Greeley arrived at the Vandal off a convincing 2 1/2-length score in the open Colin Stakes.
Go Greeley, piloted by Eurico Rosa da Silva, dueled for the early lead with Arlington Park shipper Heart to Heart, ridden by Emma-Jayne Wilson, through splits of :22.53 and :45.65 in the six furlong ‘Poly’ stake for two-year-olds.
Matador, a first time starter, was urged into contention from fourth-position through the turn by Luis Contreras, but the front-runners kicked away at the top of the lane and battled the length of the stretch with Go Greeley prevailing by a nose over Heart to Heart. Man o’ Bear rallied for show money. Go Greeley covered six furlongs in 1:10.33.
Da Silva appreciated the grit and determination of his foe in the race to the finish.
“The other horse (Heart to Heart) also showed a lot of heart,” said da Silva. “When we turned for home, my horse picked it up pretty good but the other horse never gave up. We had a good fight and we were the lucky ones to take the win.”
A pace duel was not the plan leaving the gate for da Silva.
“He (Go Greeley) broke well and positioned himself there (on the lead),” said da Silva. “I was thinking about taking him back, but he positioned himself very comfortably and I just let him be there.”
Go Greeley won at first asking in a 4 ½-furlong maiden allowance event on May 19. The colt’s training was then interrupted in June as the horse was in quarantine due to a minor outbreak of equine herpesvirus on the backstretch.
On his return to racing action, Go Greeley rallied to be second, defeated just a nose, after a troubled trip in the Clarendon Stakes, on July 7. The talented colt redeemed that loss with his front-running Colin score.
Ross continues to be impressed by the imposing dark bay.
“He’s a big, strong two-year-old,” said Ross. “He trained some long, early miles in Florida. He’s a big early foal, a February foal, and he almost looks like a three-year-old to me. He seems to handle these things well. We’ll just treat him like a king and hopefully he treats us good in return. So far, it’s working great.”
Go Greeley banked $90,000 in victory, while improving his record to 3-1-0 from four career starts.
He returned $4.20, $2.80 and $2.60, pairing with Heart to Heart ($5.10, $4.40) for a $19.20 (2-3) exactor. A 2-3-5 (Man o’ Bear, $8.80 to show) triactor was worth $232.70. Matador completed a $1 Superfecta (2-3-5-1) worth $406.25. Grom and Iron Wolf were scratched.