A Closer Look: Gormley

Gormley (photo by Jim Safford).

Gormley (photo by Jim Safford).

Gormley (KY) 

Bay Colt
Trainer: John A. Shirreffs
Jockey Last Start: Victor Espinoza
Owner: Mr. and Mrs. Jerome S. Moss
Breeder: Castleton Lyons & Kilboy Estate

Foaled: March 20, 2014
Sire: Malibu Moon
Dam, Dam Sire: Race to Urga, by Bernstein
Auction History: $150,000 RNA Keeneland 2015 September Yearling Sale

Record: 6-4-0-0
Earnings: $920,000
Highest Beyer Speed Figure: 94

COMMENTS: Flashing early brilliance, this John Shirreffs trainee followed up a winning debut at Del Mar last September with a convincing score in Santa Anita’s Grade 1 FrontRunner Stakes on Oct. 1. But when facing the division’s best in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile over that same course five weeks later, he was a badly-beaten seventh — 16 lengths behind the victorious Classic Empire.

Gormley began his sophomore season Jan. 7 with a career-best 94 Beyer and hard-fought head win over highly-regarded American Anthem in Santa Anita’s Grade 3 Sham Stakes, but threw in another clunker when finishing a non-threatening fourth there in the March 11 San Felipe Stakes (G2), which was won by Mastery before the Bob Baffert charge was pulled up with an injury.

Gormley showed a new dimension when stalking, pouncing and overhauling a game Battle of Midway to take the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby on April 8 and land at third on the leaderboard with 125 Kentucky Derby qualifying points. His sire, Malibu Moon, broke his maiden in his second start as a juvenile and never raced again. The stallion is best known for siring 2013 Kentucky Derby champion Orb.

Gormley’s dam, Race to Urga, had five wins and two seconds in eight starts and captured the 2012 Wait a While Stakes on Gulfstream Park’s turf. Shirreffs and owners Jerry and Ann Moss combined to win the 2005 Derby with 50-1 shot Giacomo, who was named for singer Sting’s son. Their 2017 hopeful, a private purchase after failing to meet his reserve at auction, is named for British sculptor Sir Antony Gormley.

The equine Gormley will complete his Kentucky Derby preparations at Santa Anita and ship to Churchill Downs on May 1. Three-time Derby and Triple Crown-winning jockey Victor Espinoza, who has been aboard Gormley in all six starts, retains the mount on the first Saturday in May.