ELMONT, N.Y. -- With several horses aimed at the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile, Sheikh Mohammed's Godolphin Stable wanted to run Girolamo in the Grade 1 Vosburgh Invitational at Belmont Park to see if they had a contender for the Breeders' Cup Sprint.
Girolamo, who had never before raced at six furlongs, showed he may be Sprint potential with a workmanlike 2 1/2-length victory in Saturday's $350,000 Vosburgh. Riley Tucker, who looked as though he had dead aim on Girolamo in midstretch had to settle for second, one-half length ahead of Wildcat Brief.
It was the fifth victory from nine career starts and first Grade 1 win for Girolamo, a son of A.P. Indy.
After breaking alertly from post 2, Girolamo was yanked off the pace briefly by Alan Garcia, who opted to put his horse outside of the speedy Wall Street Wonder and Driven by Success. Girolamo found himself right with Wall Street Wonder through an opening quarter in 22.56 seconds. Girolamo put his head in front at the three-eighths pole and remained on hold through a half-mile in 45.26.
"He broke good, I had speed inside and outside, I didn't want to be with those two horses in front," Garcia said. "I knew he was a good horse - he was much the best today - but I didn't want give him any excuse and get him in trouble."
Girolamo covered six furlongs in 1:09.41 and returned $6.20 as the favorite.
"It was a good race," said Rick Mettee, the New York assistant trainer for Godolphin Stable. "It was a Grade 1 that came up really like a Grade 2 and we just thought it was a good spot for him. He's probably going to have to run faster than 1:09-and-2 to win a Breeders' Cup race. He's still a lightly raced horse for the most part and there's no reason he really can't come on and improve. And with that cruising speed of his he should pull a pretty good trip no matter how the race comes up in Kentucky."
Mettee was referring to the Breeders' Cup at Churchill Downs on Nov. 6. Mettee said whether Girolamo goes in the Sprint or the Dirt Mile could be determined by how Regal Ransom performs in Sunday's Grade 2 Kelso Handicap, a one-turn mile race at Belmont.
Godolphin is also considering Gayego and possibly Vineyard Haven - who is not Breeders' Cup nominated - for the Dirt Mile.