It’s a Gamble relishes surface switch in Jersey Derby

Friday, May 28th, 2021

It’s a Gamble and jockey Jose Baez draw off to victory in Friday’s Jersey Derby at Monmouth Park. Bill Denver/EquiPhoto.

By Melissa Bauer-Herzog

It’s a Gamble recorded a bullet half-mile breeze last Saturday at Monmouth Park and six days later the New York-bred added a first stakes win to his record with a victory in Friday’s $102,000 Jersey Derby.

Breaking closest to the rail in the 1-mile stakes moved from the turf to the main track due to weather, It’s a Gamble raced in midpack as the leading Spectatorless opened up on the field. Spectatorless set fractions of :23.33 and :47.14 as It’s a Gamble galloped relaxed under Jose Baez. As they entered the final half mile, the field caught up to Spectatorless with It’s a Gamble racing right behind him in his rail spot.

As the leader lost his position to Indian Lake, he made the mistake of moving a path off the rail around the turn and Baez and It’s a Gamble took advantage. Sliding through the hole, It’s a Gamble was quickly after Indian Lake and catching up with every stride.

It’s a Gamble headed his rival in the final sixteenth then passed by to win by 1 3/4 lengths in 1:40.70 with Spectatorless third, 8 3/4 lengths behind Indian Lake.

“The rail really opened up for me,” said Baez. “I was just sitting there waiting to see what was going on. I waited long enough that the rail opened and I didn’t have to go around horses. I was a little worried about (Indian Lake) getting away from me. That’s probably why I asked my horse to go when I did.”

A homebred for Ron Lombardi’s Mr. Amore Stables, It’s a Gamble is the winner of three of his nine races for $176,327 in earnings with a stakes placing in the Woodhaven Stakes in his prior start April 17 at Aqueduct.

The Jersey Derby marked just the second start on dirt for It’s A Gamble, but trainer Kelly Breen wasn’t worried when the race had to be moved off the grass due to rain.

“Even though this was just his second start on the dirt he has trained well on it,” Breen said. “So I wasn’t all that concerned when it came off the turf. Everything set up for him. The rail opened up and he was able to find his way through. Since we shipped him from Florida to New York — his last race on the grass at Aqueduct was really nice — he has been training well. I believe that he’s a nice horse – dirt, turf, whatever.”

The son of English Channel is out of the Mr. Amore-raced New York-bred Yes It’s Pink. The winner of three of her 13 starts with just two off-the-board finishes, Yes It’s Pink was claimed at Belmont Park by Lombardi for $50,000 in October of 2013 and raced three more times before retirement.

Joining the Mr. Amore broodmare band, Yes It’s Pink’s first foal was a New York-bred colt named Always Will. While that colt never made it to the track, his 4-year-old half-sister Misty Taste joined the Mr. Amore Stable racing string. Making all but two of her 10 starts in New York, Misty Taste is the winner of one race in her five starts in 2021 with a pair of thirds in her last two outings.

After foaling It’s a Gamble, Yes It’s Pink visited Algorithms and gave her owner another colt. That 2-year-old is named Itsalittlebitfunny and is joined by the May-born yearling Union Jackson filly Aperol Spritz as their dam’s two youngest foals.

Yes It’s Pink visited Irish Hill & Dutchess Views Stallions’ Majestic City last year.

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