Gouveneur Morris, Constitution's Grade 1-placed 2-year-old of 2019, kicked off his 3-year-old campaign with a solid victory in a Valentine's Day allowance at Tampa Bay Downs.
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Owned by Team Valor International and WinStar Farm, the gray/roan colt won the 1 1/16-mile contest by 1 1/4-lengths, collecting his second victory in three lifetime starts. A nine-length debut winner at Saratoga last September, the $600,000 Fasig-Tipton March 2-year-old purchase went on to finish second in the Oct. 5 Breeders' Futurity (G1) in his final start of last year.
Trained by Todd Pletcher, Gouverneur Morris was slightly hindered at the break when Dudley Square, just to his outside, stumbled and lost his rider. Johnny Velazquez took Gouverneur Morris back off the pace slightly, tracking Untitled through the first six furlongs. He came up alongside in upper stretch and strode out strongly in the final furlong to seal the win.
“I had to change my strategy [when Dudley Square lost his jockey], because I was expecting that horse to be on the lead,” Velazquez said. “But it worked out anyway. He finished real nice. This was a real tough race to come off the bench, but you have to start somewhere.”
Bred by Machmer Hall, James Miller and Carrie & Craig Brogden, Gouverneur Morris hails from the same family as 2-year-old champion Midshipman. Constitution, last year's leading First-Crop sire by Graded Stakes winners, is currently leading the Second-Crop sire list with four stakes horses already in 2020, led by Holy Bull S. (G3) winner Tiz the Law.