Coliseum, Gunmetal Gray Face Off in G3 Sham Stakes at Santa Anita on Saturday

(Coliseum, with Team Baffert Assistant Trainer Jimmy Barnes on the left, heads into the G3 Sham Stakes on Saturday as a top contender for 2019 KY Derby  / Photo Courtesy of Santa Anita)

From the Santa Anita Media Team:

Bob Baffert’s Coliseum and Jerry Hollendorfer’s Gunmetal Gray head a field of seven sophomores going a flat mile in Saturday’s Grade III, $100,000 Sham Stakes at Santa Anita.  The Sham, named for the winner of the 1973 Santa Anita Derby who was subsequently second to the immortal Secretariat in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, will provide the winner with 10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points.

Owned and bred by Godolphin, LLC Coliseum made his highly anticipated debut this past Nov. 17 at Del Mar, and he responded with a rousing 6 ¾ length going seven furlongs at odds of 1-2.

Gun Metal Gray, who fetched $225,000 at a 2-year-old in training sale in Ocala, Fla., this past March, broke his maiden in his second start going one mile on Aug. 22.  He was subsequently second to Baffert’s Game Winner in the Grade I American Pharoah Stakes here on Sept. 29 and was again well beaten by Game Winner, finishing fifth, beaten 12 ½ lengths in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Nov. 2.

COLISEUM

Owner:  Godolphin, LLC

Trainer:  Bob Baffert

After many years of taking the Dubai route to Churchill Downs, Godolphin has enlisted the services of Baffert in the hope he can lead them to the promised land at long last on the first Saturday in May.  A grey colt by Tapit, out of the Menifee mare Game Face, Coliseum was bred in Kentucky by his owner and should relish the extra furlong on Saturday. Coliseum looms strictly the horse to beat with Joe Talamo back aboard.

 

GUNMETAL GRAY

Owner:  Hollendorfer, LLC, Pearl Racing & West Point Thoroughbreds

Trainer:  Jerry Hollendorfer

Well beaten in his six furlong debut July 29, this Kentucky-bred colt by Exchange Rate relished the stretch out to a mile on Aug. 22 at Del Mar, winning by 6 ¾ lengths under Drayden Van Dyke.  With Flavien Prat taking over, Gunmetal was a good second, beaten 4 ½ lengths by Game Winner in the mile and one sixteenth Grade I American Pharoah, a race in which he earned a 90-Beyer Speed figure, his best “number” in four juvenile starts.  With Mike Smith taking over for the first time in the Sham, his connections are hoping Gunmetal Gray’s experience will give him a competitive edge as he faces Coliseum for the first time.

THE GRADE III SHAM STAKES WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER

Race 9 of 10 – Approximate post time 4 p.m. PT

  1. Sueno–Kent Desormeaux–120

  2. Gray Magician–Flavien Prat–120

  3. Savagery–Joel Rosario–120

  4. Easy Shot–Rafael Bejarano–120

  5. Coliseum–Joe Talamo–120

  6. Gunmetal Gray–Mike Smith–120

  7. Much Better–Drayden Van Dyke–120

Special early first post time for a 10-race card on Saturday is at 12 noon. For additional information, please visit www.santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.

The horse broke well today,” Gaffalione said. “I had the horse inside, Dunph, going to the lead and then (Gun It) showed a little bit of speed. When I saw they were intent on going I just tried to get him back and got him to relax. He came back to me nicely and settled well down the backside. Got a little keen going into the far turn and wanted to move a little early. But I didn’t want to take too much away from him so I tried to sit as long as I could. He was waiting on horses down the lane but I kept him at task and there was plenty of horse there.”

“Mark (Casse, the trainer) and his team have done a great job,” Gaffalione said. “They’ve had a ton of confidence in this horse the whole way. It’s just an honor to be able to ride the horse. He’s just so professional, trains great and he’s a pleasure to be around.”

Tyler Gaffalione, Rode of War of Will to victory in the G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds

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