Notes & Quotes From the P.G. Johnson Stakes: Crystalle

(Crystalle wins the P.G. Johnson Stakes / Coglianese Photo & Courtesy of NYRA)

From the NYRA Media Team:

Crystalle, trained by John Kimmel for owners Tobey Morton and Chuck Hovitz, overcame a slow start to capture Thursday’s $100,000 P.G. Johnson, a 1 1/16-mile Mellon turf route for juvenile fillies at Saratoga Race Course.

The dark bay daughter of Palace Malice was disqualified and placed third after rallying from last of nine to cross the wire first in her August 4 debut at Saratoga. Away last of seven in the P.G. Johnson, Crystalle waited patiently under new rider Joel Rosario as Apurate led the field through splits of 23.29 and 47.19 seconds to the half-mile over the firm turf.

Trainer John Kimmel — Crystalle (1st):

Kimmel said he wasn’t sure Crystalle was going to get up in time to secure her first stakes score.

“I guess they just got a little tired up front and made her kick a little stronger. She was able to get up just in the nick of time,” said Kimmel. “With these horses their second time out, you’re always wondering about their change in demeanor and now that they know something about it, are they going to be aggressive and not settle? I was kind of worried she wouldn’t settle. But the way it worked out, she was well behind the field and gradually picked up her horses. [She] obviously had to go pretty wide to get around them.”

Kimmel said he will target the Grade 2, $200,000 Miss Grillo on September 29 at Belmont Park as he looks to put the $220,000 March OBS purchase on a path towards the Grade 1, $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf in November at Santa Anita Park.

“We’re thinking about Breeders Cup,” said Kimmel. “Now, we’ll probably point to the Miss Grillo and take it from there.”

Jockey Joel Rosario — Crystalle:

“She came with a nice run in the end. She ran a big race on the turf last time and she keeps proving herself. She was more professional today,” said Rosario. “She knows what she’s doing up there. It was a pretty strong run. It looks like she has a bright future, so we’ll see what happens.”

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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