Stays in Vegas Wins in Pleasanton

PLEASANTON, Calif. (July 4, 2015) -- Ricardo Gonzalez didn’t panic when Stays in Vegas was squeezed at the start to fall well behind her five opponents in the $58,255 Juan Gonzalez Memorial on Saturday at Oak Tree at Pleasanton.

“I’ve been working her, so I knew she wasn’t that quick out of the gate, but I was surprised that she broke that slowly,” Gonzalez said. “But I knew she could run, so I wasn’t too worried.”

While each of the other 2-year-old fillies in the 5½-furlong race had one wire-to-wire victory to her credit, Stays in Vegas was making her debut.

And what a debut it was, as she surged from 4¼ lengths behind on the turn, got to pacesetters Ibelievewewillwin and She’s So Vain in midstretch and shot away to win by 6 lengths.

“When I asked her, she just took off,” Gonzalez said.

Even though Stays in Vegas went off at odds of 6-to-1, there were indications before the race that she might be something special.

Her latest workout — 5 furlongs in 1:01.20 last Sunday at Golden Gate Fields — received a rare “B” designation for “breezing,” meaning that it was accomplished with no urging by the rider.

Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer obviously thought a lot of her, because he could have waited for a maiden race July 16 at the State Fair instead of running her in the Juan Gonzalez Memorial.

A $40,000 yearling purchase at the Keeneland September Sale, Stays in Vegas is owned by Kevin and Kim Nish’s KMN Racing. They also are members of the partnership that owns Eclipse Award winner Shared Belief.