Desert Storm rolls late to take San Gabriel S. (G3)

Posted to: Desert Stone (IRE) Saturday, January 4, 2020
Desert Storm rolls late to take San Gabriel S. (G3)
Desert Stone gave Zayat Stables their first stakes winner of 2020 with a thrilling victory in Saturday's $200,000 San Gabriel S. (G2), coming from last at the top of the stretch to win the 1 1/8-mile turf race by a neck over Cleopatra's Strike.

It was the first stakes win for the 5-year-old dark bay trained by Richard Baltas. The son of Fastnet Rock (AUS) had placed in the Kilroe Mile (G1) and Mathis Brothers Mile (G2) and has now earned $332,662. The San Gabriel was his first start since late May.

Ridden Saturday by Geovanni Franco, Desert Stone was last of seven through a moderate six furlongs in 1:11.65 on the firm turf. Franco moved his mount to three path entering the stretch and powered between horses, then outran Cleopatra's Strike to the wire.

The final time was 1:47.63. 

“I could see everybody bunching up and I knew the pace was pretty slow, but my horse was just waiting for me to turn him loose, so I didn’t worry about it,” said Franco.”He’s always a handful. But he’s just doing really good. We expected him to run good today and I was very happy with the way he ran from off the pace. I’ve worked him a lot and he likes me and I like him.” 

Desert Stone, bred by Arkle Bloodstock is out of the unraced Starstone, a half-sister to champion English sprinter and G1 Darley July Cup hero Pastoral Pursuits (GB).