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Gold Megillah Contests Gulfstream Park Derby

December 30, 2011 · By Erin Birkenhauer · Share
Gold Megillah looks to start the New Year right for West Point Thoroughbreds this Sunday, January 1, when he takes the black and gold postward in the Gulfstream Park Derby.

Trainer Graham Motion has high hopes for our newly-turned 3-year-old son of Purim, and after an 18 ½-length maiden-breaking score at Churchill Downs last time out on Nov. 16, Motion thinks this horse is starting to put it all together.
West Point founder and President Terry Finley agrees.

"You never really know what to make of a runaway winner in the slop, but that's part of why this game is so exciting,” Terry said. “This colt really struck me down out the Florida sale in March, and Graham's liked him ever since he stepped foot in the barn. His pedigree tells us that he'll perform better on the turf, but after he ran so well at Churchill I met with Graham and said, ‘I think we need to take a shot on the dirt.’ You just never know with young developing 2-year-olds. They jump up once or twice, and you're headed to the Kentucky Derby."

Jockey Edgar Prado will be reunited with our runner after piloting him to that runaway victory last time out. Prado has also been aboard for Gold Megillah’s past few works, and likes what he sees.

“This colt is on the improve and has been really keen and responsive in the mornings,” Prado said. “I’m excited about his potential and the chance to ride him again.”

Gold Megillah is named after the book of Esther, known in Hebrew as “the Megillah,” which is the story of the religious holiday Purim. Our colt has four starts and one win under his belt, but as Graham told the Daily Racing Form, he has a good excuse for a somewhat spotty 2-year-old campaign.

“We originally took Gold Megillah over to Saratoga to run on the grass to begin his career,” Motion told The Form’s Mike Welsch. “When the race didn’t fill we ran him six furlongs on the dirt and he ran into a buzzsaw. He was very unlucky in his next start at Belmont when we finally got him on grass, with a better post he’d likely have won, and he ran well again over Keeneland’s turf three weeks later but not good enough to try the Breeders’ Cup.”

As Welsch explained, our colt was scheduled to make his 2-year-old finale on the turf before rain moved the race to a sloppy main track - and Gold Megillah relished the change, meriting a chance at stakes company this coming weekend. Although he beat a field of horses intended for turf, he was in the same boat and handled the dirt well as he romped.

“It’s the time of year when you start trying to find out exactly how much talent your horses have,” Graham said. “For this one, the Gulfstream Park Derby will be the proving ground and we hope there are bigger and better things ahead.”

The $100,000 Gulfstream Park Derby is 1 1/16 miles on the dirt for 3-year-olds. Gold Megillah and Prado start from post three in an 11-horse field, with highweight Ancient Rome assigned 120 pounds from the number seven position. All others, including our runner, carry 116.

Best of luck to all his Partners! Lets ring in the New Year with a win!
Below is a video of Graham Motion talking about Gold Megillah in the GP Derby: