Trainer Patrick Gallagher is not known for bringing runners back in less than a week, but just six days after The Tulip returned from nearly two months on the sidelines at Del Mar, she rallied through the stretch to win the $53,375 Luther Burbank Handicap at the Sonoma County Fair in Santa Rosa.
“[Gallagher] told me to sit back and make one run with her,” said winning jockey Ricardo Gonzalez, who followed instructions to the letter.
While Psycho Sister was setting a comfortable pace, Gonzalez was relaxing the 5-year-old Irish-bred Lawman mare near the back of the pack.
Gonzalez wasn’t pushing The Tulip, but he was expecting good things as she took the bit and was waiting for the command to go.
Psycho Sister had things pretty much her own way up front with fractions of 24.26 seconds, 48.71, and 1:12.68. She was challenged by Savannah Slew in the stretch and was headed, but dug back in along the inside and was inching away from Savannah Slew late.
Gonzalez found himself behind a wall of horses on the second turn, but continued his patient handling before splitting foes after turning for home.
“I was confident,” he said. “I thought I’d blow by them, but they really dug in down the lane.”
The Tulip, who took over the favorite’s role in the closing moments of wagering, kept coming and was up to win by a head in the 1 1/16-mile turf race for fillies and mares. Winning time was 1:43.68 over a firm course and she returned $7.
Psycho Sister was three-quarters of a length in front of third-place finisher Savannah Slew.
The Tulip earned $32,700 in her U.S. stakes debut for owners Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners. She has now earned $125,973 with three victories in 18 starts.