Golden Rocket shocks NYSS Statue of Liberty

Thursday, August 18th, 2022

Golden Rocket and jockey Jose Gomez up the NYSS Statue of Liberty. Susie Raisher/NYRA Photo.

By Tom Law and Timothy Littau

The biggest achievements of Alpha’s racing career came at Saratoga Race Course – to the tune of four wins in six starts including the Grade 1 Travers at 3 and Grade 1 Woodward at 4.

The former New York-based stallion played a role in another huge moment Thursday when his 3-year-old daughter Golden Rocket sprang a 33-1 upset in the $150,000 Statue of Liberty division of the New York Stallion Series Stakes. Claimed out of a Monmouth Park turf race this spring, Golden Rocket closed from sixth of eight under apprentice jockey Jose Gomez as the longest price in the field of eight.

“I feel great, it feels awesome,” said Gomez, who won his first stakes and race on the grass at Saratoga aboard the filly for the first time. “It’s the best feeling in the world.”

Owners Robert Lambe and Chad Anshelewitz were hoping for that feeling when they and trainer Patricia Farro claimed the chestnut filly for $16,000 June 3 at Monmouth.

Anshelewitz said looking at Golden Rocket’s speed figures played a role in the claim, along with watching her half-brother Matty’s Express win a New York-bred allowance at Saratoga last summer for Lambe.

“I know her very well and I know she’s going to finish,” Anshelewitz said. “We thought she’s going to give whatever her 100 percent is. If it’s good for third or fourth, or if she’s going to win, she’s going to give 100 percent. The 100 percent got her to the winner’s circle.”

Golden Rocket’s connections celebrate 33-1 upset in the Statue of Liberty. NYRA Photo.

Golden Rocket improved to 3-for-8 and boosted her bankroll to $117,135 with the $82,500 first-place check for the Statue of Liberty victory. She defeated Royal Dancer by a half-lengh with 9-5 favorite Busy Morning another 1 1/4 lengths back in third. Dream Central, bidding for her second stakes win of the meet after taking the Suzie O’Cain July 20, finished fourth. Golden Rocket won in 1:36.22 over the firm turf softened up just a touch after rain overnight Wednesday and periodically Thursday.

Bred by Ballybrit Stables and out of the Touch Gold mare Taty’s Gold, Golden Rocket started her career last September at Monmouth Park. She finished third in a 6-furlong maiden claimer, then resurfaced two months later and finished fifth in a similar 7-furlong maiden at Tampa Bay Downs.

Trainer Mike Dini switched Golden Rocket to the grass for her next start and she hasn’t raced on the main track since. She won a 1-mile maiden claimer on the grass in early January, finished second the day she was claimed and won a starter allowance July 3 at Monmouth. Golden Rocket came into the Statue of Liberty off a seventh in an open allowance July 23 at Monmouth.

“We knew she was New York-bred,” Anshelewitz said. “We got her in the barn, we saw she was all right and ran her in the starter. … We wanted to see if she was this caliber (and) she proved that obviously.”

Taty’s Gold won nine of 44 starts with 11 placings for $213,460 in earnings. Her first foal, the New York-bred Admiral Kitten gelding Matty’s Express, is 4-3-4 in 27 starts with $147,269 in earnings. He won a 1 1/16-mile allowance on the grass last summer and is entered as an also-eligible in a 1-mile claiming race Saturday at Monmouth.

Taty’s Gold is also the dam of Golden Oldie, a full sister to Golden Rocket who has won two of 17 starts and $43,721 for Ballybrit Stable and Dini. She’s entered in a 5 ½-furlong claiming race Monday at Colonial Downs.

Golden Rocket is from the fourth crop of Alpha, a son of Bernardini who started his stud career for Darley/Godolphin Racing at Sequel Stallions New York in Hudson. Alpha won six of 22 starts and earned $1,815,667. A dead-heat winner of the Travers with Golden Ticket, Alpha also won the Grade 2 Jim Dandy at Saratoga, a maiden race in his first start as a 2-year-old in 2011 and the Grade 1 Woodward in 2013.



Leave a Reply