Sometimes all it takes is one last burst of energy.
As the seven horses competing in the Sham Stakes rounded the final turn on January 5, it was Gunmetal Gray in the back of the pack. But as the group sprinted towards the finish line, it was Gunmetal Gray crossing first at Santa Anita Park.
That's right — the Mike Smith-led horse jumped from last to first in the final furlong of this Road to the Kentucky Derby® qualifier, earning 10 points in the process. But the question remains: how?
The running of the Sham Stakes is a three act story. It started with Savagery opening up as the leader well into the first turn. As they headed towards the half-mile pole, Savagery maintained a two-length lead over the opposition, but the Bob Baffert-trained Much Better was on his tail.
At the 3/8 pole, Much Better made the move to take the lead over Savagery heading into the final turn. The assault from Much Better took Savagery by surprise as he fell back into the group.
During this entire sequence, Gunmetal Gray sat comfortably behind the pack. With every charge and attempt at overtaking another horse, Gunmetal Gray observed from behind and continued to preserve energy. In the final stretch Gunmetal Gray began his charge and overtook everyone in his way from the outside. As Much Better clawed to hold onto his narrow lead, it was for naught. Gunmetal Gray looked like a superior species of horse as he flew past everyone and crossed the finish line first.
The victory was Gunmetal Gray's first Grade 1 stakes win, bringing him to 14 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard.
Check out our last Road to Derby update!
Kentucky Derby American Road Standings
Kentucky Derby European Road Standings
|1||Royal Marine (IRE)||10|
|2||Magna Grecia (IRE)||10|
|5||Phoenix of Spain (IRE)||4|
|7||Sydney Opera House||4|
|8||Mount Everest (IRE)||4|
Kentucky Derby Japan Road Standings
|1||Nova Lenda (JPN||20|
|3||Derma Louvre (JPN)||8|
|4||Gal Vihara (JPN)||4|
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