Gormley faces six rivals in Sham

Jan 05, 2017 by James Scully/Brisnet.com

Grade 1 winner Gormley heads a field of seven in Saturday’s $100,000 Sham (G3) at Santa Anita. As part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby series, the one-mile race offers points on a 10-4-2-1 scale to the top four respective finishers.

A convincing debut maiden scorer at Del Mar, Gormley earned 10 points toward a berth in a 20-horse Kentucky Derby field when capturing the October 1 FrontRunner (G1) at Santa Anita, leading wire to wire in a three-length decision. But he couldn’t carry his momentum forward in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), finishing a well-beaten seventh as the 5-1 third betting choice.

Gormley is trained by John Shirreffs, who saddled 2005 Kentucky Derby hero Giacomo, and three-time Kentucky Derby winner Victor Espinoza has the call.

American Anthem will make his stakes debut for Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, who is tied for second all-time with four Kentucky Derby wins. The colt exits a debut win in early December, rallying from just off the pace to prevail by a neck, and American Anthem is eligible to appreciate the stretch out to two turns. Mike Smith, who guided Giacomo to a 50-1 upset under the Twin Spires, picks up the mount.

Term of Art, who exits a victory in the off-the-turf Cecil DeMille (G3), has won two of his last three outings at Santa Anita, the lone setback being a ninth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Joe Talamo rides for two-time Kentucky Derby victor Doug O’Neill.

Rounding the Sham field are Colonel Samsen, who will make his first dirt start following a triumph in the December 3 Gold Rush on Golden Gate Fields’ Tapeta track; last-out maiden winners Big Hit and Blabimir; and Bird is the Word, who is winless from five attempts.

(Gormley photo by Cecilia Gustavsson/Horsephotos.com)

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