Gamay Noir Pulls Off Big Upset in $150,000 Rampart (G3)
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Bettors made Devil’s Cave the 1-2 favorite for Saturday’s $150,000 Rampart for older fillies and mares at Gulfstream Park, but it was her Marty Wolfson-trained stablemate that stole the show.
Claimed for $100,000 in January, 49-1 long shot Gamay Noir came flying on the outside to catch Devil’s Cave and Unlimited Budget in deep stretch and win the 38th renewal of the Rampart by three-quarters of a length. Owned by Chasing Tail Stables, Gamay Noir ($100.20) ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.84 and survived a steward’s inquiry after bumping with Private Ensign at the top of the stretch.
Unlimited Budget surged late to pass pacesetting Devil’s Cave for second. Private Ensign finished fourth, followed by Triple Arch and Oasis At Midnight.
“I claimed her for running her a route on dirt,” Wolfson said. “Paco rode her just like I wanted, where she makes one run three-eighths of a mile on the outside.”
A 4-year-old daughter of Harlan’s Holiday, Gamay Noir settled at the back of the pack while Devil’s Cave led through a quarter-mile in 24.12 seconds, a half in 47.67 and six furlongs in 1:10.78, pressed all the way by Unlimited Budget.
The two leaders stayed in front into the stretch as Gamay Noir began to roll on the outside, first passing Private Ensign as the two horses brushed. Gamay Noir steadily gained on the leaders before getting up late.
“(At the top of the stretch) I had a lot of horse, and (Private Ensign) came over and forced me to come out,” jockey Paco Lopez said. “I put my horse outside and she came over just a little bit and I took hold, and my filly didn’t have a problem. I went right by the other horse.
“I told (the stewards), ‘I didn’t bump the horse. I didn’t come over on the horse – you can look.’ I took a hold and moved her away. I didn’t hit her with the whip, nothing. It didn’t affect the race, and I had a lot of horse.”
Wolfson claimed Gamay Noir out of a seventh-place finish in a one-mile turf race at Gulfstream on Jan. 15, and immediately put her on dirt in a one-mile allowance two weeks later. She was fifth in the Sabin (G2) before finishing fourth in the Wayward Lass Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs on March 15.
Though Gamay Noir may have been overlooked by bettors, Wolfson was not surprised with her performance.
“Not off her last race. She ran huge,” he said. “You had to see it visually. She got in all kinds of trouble and should have won that race. I never would have run her back this quick, except for the way she ran. (Lopez) is the perfect rider for her, because he listens.”
Devil’s Cave carried topweight of 123 pounds in the Rampart off her front-running victory in the Sabin. “It was too much weight,” Wolfson said, “and I didn’t think (Unlimited Budget) was going to push her like that.”