Gormley acted like an older horse, in spite of a loose horse in the field, and went on about his business to secure a berth in the starting gate for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile with a win in the Grade 1 FrontRunner Stakes at Santa Anita.
Gromley’s trainer, John Shirreffs, is best known for conditioning the incomparable Zenyatta, who captured the heart of fans worldwide while winning 19 of 20 starts. She won two Breeders’ Cup races — the 2008 Ladies’ Classic and the 2009 Classic — and narrowly missed repeating her Classic victory when she was edged by Blame in the 2010 edition at Churchill Downs in her final start. Shirreffs also won the 2009 Ladies' Classic with Life is Sweet.
In the FrontRunner, Gormley broke well, opened a big advantage on the far turn, and scored by three and a half lengths in 1:43.57, with 1-5 choice and Grade1 Del Mar Futurity winner Klimt rallying for second.
“You know, it’s always a surprise,” said Shirreffs after the grade one score. “You train in the morning and you hope they can improve in the afternoon. You don’t ever know until the afternoon. After you’ve won your first race you settle in and you just move on. He’s a young horse, he’s learning. He needs to focus a little bit and once he gets focused he’s got it handled. I like that when he got into that big gear he has, he didn’t get too excited for a young horse and today he was all business.”
The Malibu Moon colt won easily at first asking too, scoring by four and a quarter lengths at Del Mar Sept. 4 going six and a half furlongs.