Jerry and Ann Moss’ Gormley proved he could play a game of cat and mouse Saturday, April 8 when winning the $1 million G1 Santa Anita Derby at Santa Anita Park.
There was a three-way speed battle up front between Battle of Midway, American Anthem, and Royal Mo, leading to fractions of :22.66, :46.55, and 1:10.92 through the six furlong mark. Gormley, meanwhile, sat in fourth and fifth under jockey Victor Espinoza. The pair moved into contention in the final turn as the early leaders began to tire a bit, going out four wide to take the lead. The bay colt was tiring himself as he hit the wire a half length ahead of Battle of Midway. Royal Mo was another half length back in third.
The final time for the 1 ⅛ mile race on a fast track was 1:51.16.
“I think the key was Espinoza rating Gormley and then making his big move,” trainer John Sheriffs said. “This is very exciting. It’s thrilling to have a Kentucky Derby horse and it’s for the same owners as (2005 Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo). Royal Mo (also owned by the Mosses) ran really big. If he had a better post position (than 13), you wonder how he would have done. Gormley is an evolving horse. He’s very precocious and very excitable. I just need to turn that energy of his into positive use.”
Gormley was bred in Kentucky by Castleton Lyons and Kilboy Estate and is out of the Bernstein mare Race to Urga. He improved his record to 4 wins from 6 starts for earnings of $920,000 and now ranks second on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard.
“It’s been such a great time bringing both of these horses up, and both came through beautifully today,” Jerry Moss said. “We’re just so grateful. It’s been a beautiful time. .. We’re just delighted.”
It was announced shortly after the Santa Anita Derby that upon his retirement, Gormley will stand at stud alongside his sire Malibu Moon at B. Wayne Hughes’ Spendthrift Farm.
Click here for more on this year’s Kentucky Derby horses.