Irish Gypsy Wins At Hollywood

Irish Gypsy just holds in A Gleam

The Hollywood Park stewards were forced to get the magnifying glass out yet again on Saturday following the conclusion of the $200,000 A Gleam H. (G2).

Earlier on the card, the judges were unable to separate Cambina (Ire) (Hawk Wing) and Nereid (Rock Hard Ten) in the American Oaks (G1). In the A Gleam, they somehow found a sliver of daylight between the muzzle of Ultra Blend (Richly Blended) and the wire, which saw pacesetter IRISH GYPSY (Hennessy) earn her first graded win.

"She's had some small issues, ankles and little things off and on," said trainer Bob Baffert's assistant Mike Marlow after the stable's meet-high eighth stakes victory. "But we've got her rolling now. She's had some time to develop. She's getting stronger as she gets older. She's better now than she's ever been. It was close. I thought it might be a dead heat."

Irish Gypsy wasn't quickest from the gate, but quickly pulled her way into contention between rivals on the front end. Jockey Martin Garcia allowed her to split horses and grab the lead, and the pair settled down to reel off splits of :22 4/5 and :45 3/5. Mildly Offensive (Sharp Humor) took up a stalking position to her outside, while Tanda (Sweetsouthernsaint) also kept in range while three wide.

Irish Gypsy maintained her advantage all the way through the stretch. Mildly Offensive began backing up, but Tanda was hanging tough while unable to challenge the eventual winner. Suddenly, Ultra Blend came powering down the center of the track while running on her left lead. The late-running bay mare never switched to her right lead, but still managed to catch up with Irish Gypsy in the shadow of the wire. A photo was needed to separate the pair on the line, but the official ruling finally came down in Irish Gypsy's favor.

Sent off the 5-1 fourth pick, Irish Gypsy returned $12, $5.60 and $3.60 for completing seven furlongs in 1:22 2/5 over the Cushion Track. Ultra Blend was tough in defeat, and managed to improve her record to 20 in-the-money finishes from 22 starts. It was another 1 1/4 lengths back to Tanda in third, with Mildly Offensive, Washington Bridge (Yankee Gentleman), Fund Raiser (Harlan's Holiday), Shotgun Gulch (Thunder Gulch), Church Camp (Forest Camp) and American Story (Ghostzapper) completing the order under the wire. Irish Gypsy is now riding a three-stakes win streak (Benoit Photos)

Irish Gypsy began her racing career in 2008, but didn't break her maiden until making her sophomore bow in 2009. She racked up a pair of allowance wins that season before wrapping up her three-year-old season with a runner-up placing in her stakes debut, the Cascapedia S., at Santa Anita during the fall. The bay nearly skipped her entire four-year-old campaign, not reappearing until showing up to be second once again in the California State Fair Sprint H. last July 17. She wouldn't be seen in competition again until making her five-year-old debut in the Time to Leave S. at Hollywood on May 1, where yet another runner-up effort was added to her record.

Irish Gypsy finally put it all together when shipping to Lone Star Park for the May 30 Valid Expectations S., and has now captured her past three after also taking the Desert Stormer H. prior to Saturday's victory. The bay improved her overall record to 14-6-4-1 and has now bankrolled $359,420.

Bred in Kentucky by Jerry and Ann Moss, the Mike Pegram and John Sikura colorbearer brought $120,000 as a Keeneland September yearling. She is out of Grade 2-placed stakes winner Rayelle (Relaunch), making her a half-sister to Grade 3-placed Piscitelli (Victory Gallop), an unraced sophomore colt named Indian Agent (Giacomo), an unnamed yearling filly by Candy Ride (Arg) and a 2011 Zensational colt.

Rayelle is herself a daughter of Delicate Vine (Knights Choice), winner of the 1986 Arlington-Washington Lassie S. (G1), Sorority S. (G2) and Landaluce S. (G3) while third in that same year's Oak Leaf S. (G1), and counts as a full brother Grade 2-scoring sire Altazarr. She is a half-sister to the dam of multiple Grade 2 queen House of Fortune (Free House) and another of her half-sisters is the granddam of Grade 2 victor Rendezvous (Victory Gallop).

One can also find in Irish Gypsy's female family Grade 1 winners Georgie Boy (Tribal Rule) and Celtic Melody (Mr. Greeley); Grade/Group 2 scorers BAPAK CHINTA (Speightstown) and Miss Pickums (Afternoon Deelites); and Grade 3 hero Wilkinson (Lemon Drop Kid).



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