Kobe’s Gigi kicked off her 2024 racing season with flare Sunday, Jan. 7 in the $32,000 Fillies and Mares Open Handicap. Starting from the extreme outside seven post, the mare used a big final half to score the win in the event for driver John DeLong.
Kobe’s Gigi did not tangle with the early speed at the start and opted to go to the back of the pack as Lee Loo and Tyler Smith and Marloe Hanover and Sam Widger matched each other’s speed early on before Marloe Hanover crossed over for the lead after the quarter in :27.0. Intothemysticmoon was the third horse to pursue the top spot and did so just before the half.
The pace was even to the half in :55.4 which prompted the outer flow of traffic to form led by Ainthesamewithoutu and Trace Tetrick, who had the spot right in front of Kobe’s Gigi. This prompted Kobe’s Gigi to follow her lead and also move out, drafting behind Ainthesamewithoutu and on the move toward the leaders.
By the time the three-quarter mile marker had been reached in 1:24.1, Ainthesamewithoutu was pressing Intothemysticmoon for the top spot. Kobe’s Gigi tipped to the outside to get clearance for the stretch drive. Kobe’s Gigi hit another gear and lengthened her stride, pacing home in :28.0 with Delong never asking much from the Indiana mare. She was a winner by one and three-quarter lengths in 1:52.3. Intothemysticmoon and Dan Noble held their ground inside for second over Ainthesamewithoutu for third.
Kobe’s Gigi paid $7.80 for the win. The six-year-old daughter of JK Endofanera is owned by Leander Schwartz and Black and White Stable. Missy Essig trains the talented mare, who was bred by Harvey Fry.
Kobe’s Gigi won an elimination of the Breeders Crown for older pacing mares last fall and hit the board in the final. Her win Sunday was her first race in 2024 and was her 18th career win. She now has more than $670,000 on her card with her career best time of 1:48.3 taken as a four-year-old at The Meadowlands. She has been with her current connections in some form of ownership since she began her career. With only one start at two, she made up for lost time as a three-year-old, earning more than $217,000 and finished in the top three 15 of 18 times.
Another Indiana winner on the card was Shadowrage in an upper conditioned pacing event for female contenders. Shadowrage, driven by Sam Widger, took over before the half and led the rest of the way, scoring the win in 1:55.3, a final quarter in :29.4. Line Em Up and Dan Noble finished one and three-quarter lengths back in second followed by Shakeitoffscarlet and Brett Miller for third.
Shadowrage is a four-year-old daughter of Riggins. She is owned and bred by Scarlett Stables LLC and trained by Dan O’Mara. Her career best time of 1:50.4 was taken last year at three and she now has more than $125,000 in earnings.