While Tanourin Stable’s Salamera squeezed out a hard-fought neck victory in Saturday’s $100,000 J J’s Dream at Calder Casino & Race Course to stake her claim as the top juvenile filly on the grounds, Gilbert Campbell’s homebred Two T’s At Two B was much more emphatic in asserting his dominance over the local 2-year-old scene when taking the $100,000 Frank Gomez Memorial by 5 ¼ lengths.
Trained by Kathleen O’Connell, Two T’s At Two B was never threatened at any point during his career debut back on May 19, and the same remained true for the Frank Gomez as the son of Untuttable was content to press the pace through an opening quarter in :22.13 before taking control of the race with a four-wide move on the turn, drawing clear of his overmatched rivals, and coasting under the wire comfortably in front while stopping the timer in 1:06.56 for the 5 ½-furlong trip.
“I’ve worked a couple of these other horses in the morning, so I knew he was better, and I wasn’t worried about much going into the race,” winning jockey Eduardo Nunez said. “And when I looked up in the stretch and saw him (on the infield video screen), I said to myself ‘wow, look at him just take off.’ He’s already a nice horse, and I think he is going to be a real nice horse.”
Sent from the gate as the 1.90-1 favorite, Two T’s At Two B returned $5.80, $4.40, and $3.60 for the popular win. Joshua’s Comprise, still a maiden, closed well to finish second, returning $8.20 and $5.40. It was 1 ½ lengths back to Billos Boy in third, who paid $5.20.
One race earlier, in the J J’s Dream, Salamera fought past a stubborn Impossible Mary in mid-stretch and then dug in gamely to keep that pesky rival at bay, running 5 ½ furlongs in 1:05.70 under jockey Angel Castillo, in town from Parx Racing in Philadelphia to ride the filly for fellow Venezuelan Rodolfo Garcia.
“Once I knew I needed a rider, I immediately pointed to Angel as the guy I wanted to ride,” Garcia said. “He was probably one of the best riders ever in Venezuela, and he rode almost all of my stakes winners down there. He used to ride for me here at Calder like 10 years ago, and even though I’ve got very good riders here, he is a personal friend of mine, so I called him, and he came to ride.”
Salamera was a bit reserved through the opening stages of the J J’s Dream, settling in sixth-place early while Jewel in the Sky ran on the lead through fractions of :22.28 and :46.20.
“My horse was bothered a bit early on, but I was able to get my horse settled and she was going along well,” Castillo said.
As the field of fillies moved through the turn, odds-on favorite Impossible Mary moved to the front, but was immediately tracked and then pressured by Salamera.
“I started moving up pretty easy, and when I told my filly to get into the race, she really picked up,” Castillo said. “And from that point, I knew my horse was going better than the other one (Impossible Mary) was. I knew I would win.”
Castillo was correct in that assessment, but the result was far from over, even when Salamera grabbed the lead in mid-stretch as Impossible Mary fought back along the rail and made a race of it through the wire.
“My filly showed some guts,” Castillo added.
Salamera paid $8.80, $3.40, and $3.40 for the win. Impossible Mary returned $2.80 and $2.40 when second. It was six lengths back to Anita’s Comprise, who paid a robust $9.20 for third.
Earlier on the Saturday program at Calder, Luis Duco Stables, Inc.’s Empire Builder tallied his second straight stakes win of the meet when taking the $55,000 American Dreamer. The son of Kitten’s Joy, ridden to victory by Jonathan Gonzales, has won four of 10 lifetime starts and boasts a career bankroll of $116,495.