Malibu Moon's 2-year-old colt Gormley went from a maiden debut victory to a Grade 1 winner with a three-length win in the $300,000 FrontRunner S. (G1) Saturday at Santa Anita Park.
With the victory, the back colt owned by Jerry and Ann Moss earned a guaranteed starting spot in the gate for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) a month from now, also at Santa Anita.
The FrontRunner was filled with plenty of early drama when Secret House, in post three, broke from the gate without his rider and sped to the front of the field. Gormley, in post 1, came away cleanly and made his way to the lead when Secret House bolted to the outside fence going into the first turn.
Gormley set a measured pace of :47.18 for the half-mile and 1:11.48 for six furlongs. Turning for home, Gormley spurted away from Straight Fire and a late run into second by Klimt had no effect on the winner, who completed the 1 1/16-miles in 1:43.57, good for an excellent Beyer Speed Figure of 93.
“You know, it’s always a surprise as you well know. You train in the morning and you hope they can improve in the afternoon,” said trainer John Shirreffs. “He looks like a million bucks, he’s a beautiful horse and he’s doing really well. I like that when he got into that big gear he has, he didn’t get too excited for a young horse and today he was all business.”
The victory upped Gormley's record to 2-for-2 and his earnings to $216,000. In addition to be Malibu Moon's 11th lifetime Grade 1 winner, he is the fourth graded stakes winner this year for his sire, joining Acorn S. winner Carina Mia in the elite Grade 1 group.
Pedigree Notes from the TDN
Gormley, bred by Castleton Lyons and Kilboy Estate in Kentucky, is the first foal out of Race to Urga, who took the 2012 Wait a While S. over the Gulfstream sod for Castleton Lyons and Christophe Clement. His second dam Miss Mambo was third in the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (G1), while his fourth dam was champion grass mare Estrapade, a half to Horse of the Year Criminal Type.