Damon's Mound scores second graded victory in Gallant Bob

Media Contact:

Owned and bred by Michelle and Cliff Love, trained by Michelle Lovell and ridden by Junior Alvarado, the 3-year-old son of Girvin out of the Stroll mare San Antonio Stroll prevailed by 1 1/4 lengths after a stretch duel with Nautical Star, who finished second, 3 1/2 lengths ahead of Gordian Knot. The winning time was 1:10.24 for 6 furlongs over the sloppy track. Ryvit broke fast and took the early lead over Sir Lancelot, with Damon’s Mound laying third. Sir Lancelot put his head in the front on the far turn with Ryvit responding immediately, but by then Damon’s Mound and Nautical Star were in hot pursuit. Damon’s Mound went by Ryvit on his outside and held off Nautical Star, who was widest of all. Post-time favorite Damon’s Mound paid $5.60 in winning for the fourth time. He has four wins and a second in dirt sprints, including a convincing victory in the Grade 2 Saratoga Special in his second career start in August 2022. The Gallant Bob was his second graded stakes triumph and improved his career earnings to $601,700. Damon’s Mound has run at six tracks over six distances and two surfaces in nine career starts. Pennsylvania-bred Ninetyprcentmaddie closed fast to finish fourth, followed by Ryvit, Dreaming of Kona, Depoli, Praetorian Guard and Sir Lancelot.

Winning jockey Junior Alvarado: “He’s done very well the last couple races. He’s been on the engine and making my job pretty easy. I rode him last time, kind of the same thing – broke out of there, put him on the engine. He likes that. He likes to feel that he’s the one in control. They outfooted me the first part, the two faster horses on the outside, then I was sitting in a beautiful trip. When I started picking it and making my run he was there digging in for me the whole way to the wire.”

Mitch Butler, assistant to winning trainer Michelle Lovell: “Everything worked out real well. We knew there was some speed on the outside, and luckily the speed got in front of us, and Junior was able to take the horse outside like that and set up the easy trip. When he asked for the run, he just came to run just like we hoped he would so it worked out real well. Probably as good as it could go.” “I’m so happy for Michelle, of course, and the owners Mr. and Mrs. Love. We just found this spot, and it seems like he’s doing so well and were just so happy that we have the horse in the barn and that he is doing as good as he is now.” On Maxfield Overnight Stakes two starts back over mud at Ellis Park: “That day it rained right before his race. It came like a monsoon and I think it was just a different track condition, but today with the rain they had the track sealed all day and all night so it probably just worked out better for him.”

Jockey Irad Ortiz (Nautical Star, second): “He fought all the way to the wire. The winner is a nice horse. Going to the quarter pole, I was moving pretty good and I thought I had horse and I thought I was going to be hard to beat. But that horse kept fighting. I am really happy with the way (Nautical Star) ran. He is a nice horse. He handled the track pretty well. The track is pretty fair. They have been doing a great job.”

Trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. (Nautical Star, second): “It looked like we had him, but Damon’s Mound is back into form. He won his last race and he beat us fair and square. I thought, coming down the stretch, that we had a good chance of winning. And Irad thought the same thing. The winner just never gave in. Full credit to him. I am happy with how he ran. He went from an allowance (a win Aug. 18 at Gulfstream) straight into this kind of company against seasoned horses. He is going to be a nice sprinter for us. He will go anywhere from 6 furlongs to a mile, at least, and he has a bright future ahead of him.”