Trainer Efren Loza, Jr. and owner St. George Stable, LLC will have three runners each looking for their first stakes win in Saturday’s 3-year-old stakes at Calder Casino & Race Course.
The 3-year-old filly Gumara is entered in the $65,000 Leave Me Alone Stakes, while the 3-year-old colts Gukumatz and Giancarlo are entered in the $65,000 Unbridled. Both stakes are held at the 6-furlong distance.
“Tomorrow’s races are very important to us,” said Loza. “We hope to win the stakes.”
Both Gumara and Gukumatz go into their respective stakes undefeated. They are each 2-for-2 in their young careers that just began in March. Giancarlo already has stakes experience under his belt and comes into the Unbridled off of a brief rest after the Smooth Air Stakes in March.
Gumara heads into the Leave Me Alone off of a 1 ¾-length score in a 6 ½-furlong allowance race at Calder on May 17 and her dominant 8 ¼-length maiden special weight win in March at six furlongs. Gukumatz took both of his career victories by the same distance. Scoring his respective victories by almost 6 lengths each, he last won a 6 ½-furlong allowance optional claiming race in April and broke his maiden in a 5 ½-furlong maiden special weight race in March.
“They are very good horses,” said Loza in regards to the decision to enter the lightly-raced horses in their respective stakes. “They are undefeated, and they won comfortably. Every race is a test for the horses.”
The timing of the Unbridled set up perfectly for Giancarlo, who is ready again after a brief rest from the Smooth Air.
“He had a little problem with his hoof, so we didn’t want to run him until he was ready,” said Loza. “He’s a very good horse, and he’s training well in the mornings.”
Giancarlo has run at distances of 7 furlongs or longer in his past four races. He has not run a 6-furlong race since breaking his maiden second time out at Calder last December. In that race, he drew off to win by six and a half lengths.
“He is running in the 6-furlong race as a preparation to run in longer races,” said Loza.
Giancarlo’s first stakes race experience came at Tampa Bay Downs in January, where he finished third in the 7-furlong Pasco Stakes. After that, he finished second in a 7-furlong allowance at Calder in January and first in a 7-furlong allowance optional claiming race by four lengths at Tampa in February. Giancarlo ran second in his career debut at Calder last November in a 6 ½-furlong maiden special weight race.
Jockey Jesus Rios has the call aboard Giancarlo and Gumara, while jockey Jose Rivera II will ride Gukumatz. Gumara will break from post position six in the Leave Me Alone, which is the sixth race on the card, while Gukumatz breaks from post position four and Giancarlo breaks from post position six in the Unbridled, which is slated as the seventh race.