Mack Miller stood in the Pimlico Race Course winner's circle yesterday after the $100,000 Gallorette Handicap and proclaimed the race "a nice way to start the week. Hopefully, this will be continued on Saturday."
The trainer of Kentucky Derby champion Sea Hero struck first at the track with You'd Be Surprised, who rallied from seventh and scored a three-quarter-length victory over Captive Miss in the Grade III Gallorette, the first major stakes of Preakness Week.
While the other supposed contenders foundered, failed to fire or simply didn't take to the track, favored You'd Be Surprised was confidently rated by jockey Jerry Bailey and ran down the leaders in the stretch.
"She's a good filly, and she's getting better," Bailey said. "We were sitting in the back, but she was going
along real comfortable. At the top of the stretch, I knew we had a real shot."
The Rokeby Stables' filly, bred by Paul Mellon, completed the 1 1/16 miles on grass in 1 minute, 43 2/5 seconds and paid $7.60.
Miller said the horse "is nice to be around. She was too small at 2, so we had to wait a year. She ran well the last time out and was even better today."
After the race, the trainer reiterated that Sea Hero is working well, but that "Saturday is a different game. I hope he can win, but it'll be a tough one."
The great grand-dam of You'd Be Surprised, Searching, won the Gallorette twice -- in 1955 and 1957.
Radiant Ring, with Pat Day in the saddle, was expected to provide stiff competition, but, according to Day, "never picked up the bit" and finished fifth, passing tiring horses after running at the back of the pack most of the way.
Julie Krone said "I couldn't even guess" what happened to her mount, Aurora, the second choice who faded to ninth after dueling on the front end for six furlongs.
And British-bred Bezelle, with the leading local rider, Edgar Prado, aboard, labored home last.
"In the stretch, she did absolutely nothing. Maybe she bled," Prado said. Trainer Jimmy Murphy then said the horse would be "scoped."
Long shot Gilded Set, on the rail with Greg Hutton, set some honest fractions and was still in the hunt until the eighth pole when she faded to finish seventh.
It was at that point that Captive Miss (now winless in four races this year) and Joe Bravo looked like a winner before You'd Be Surprised finished her charge.
You'd Be Surprised is 4-for-6 on turf and 2-for-3 this year, beaten by a head by Lady Blessington at Churchill Downs.