Oaks Contender Gambling Girl Represents Four Generations of Gallagher’s Stud

Under the guidance of Hall of Fame trainer Laz Barrera, Buryyourbelief (Believe It) became the first New York-bred filly to win the GI Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs in 1987 as the 8-1 upset, coasting home a 2 3/4-length winner in the nation’s most prestigious race for 3-year-old fillies.

This Friday, 37 years later, the Todd Pletcher-trained Gambling Girl (Dialed In) will fly the flag for the Empire State as the lone New York-bred in a field of 14. Owned by Queens, Ny. native Mike Repole, Gambling Girl represents the fourth generation in a long line of mares bred by Marlene Brody’s Gallagher’s Stud in Ghent, NY.

Gambling Girl is her breeder’s first Kentucky Oaks contender, stemming from a family line that began at Gallagher’s Stud with the purchase of the filly’s fourth dam, Grand Bonheur (Blushing Groom {Fr}), as a yearling in 1980. From the 11 foals she produced came Felicita (Rubiano), dam of Grade I winner and Grade I producer Take Charge Lady, who Gallagher’s Stud sold en utero and went on to produce the likes of champion Will Take Charge (Unbridled’s Song), Grade I winner Take Charge Indy (A.P. Indy), GII winner As Time Goes By (American Pharoah) and Charming (War Front), the dam of Grade I winner Omaha Beach.

Before Take Charge Lady, there was Eventail (Lear Fan), Felicita’s first foal who produced Tulipmania, Gambling Girl’s dam, along with Grade II winner Straight Story (Giant’s Causeway), before going through the ring at the 2006 Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale, in foal to El Prado (Ire), and selling for $925,000 to Shadai Farm.

“Tulipmania was actually a very useful racehorse. She was very close to a stakes-caliber filly. She ended up injuring a knee, but she beat stakes winners running in allowance races and stuff like that so she was a pretty nice race filly,” said Mallory Mort, who has worked with all facets of the farm’s equine and cattle operations for 44 years and took over as manager of the entire farm in 2005. “It’s very gratifying when that many generations of breeding comes to fruition.”

Tulipmania has produced 11 foals, with four winners from eight starters, topped by stakes winner and GII-placed Gambling Girl. The third foal from her dam to sell for six figures as a yearling at Fasig-Tipton’s New York Bred Yearlings Sale, she was purchased for $200,000 by West Bloodstock, Agent for Repole Stable, from the Denali Stud consignment in 2021.

“From the beginning, she was just a piece of cake. Nothing ever went wrong with her and she was always easy to work with. We were expecting pretty good money for her [at the sale]. She was a good individual and obviously had a nice page,” said Mort. “I think if one of the mare’s earlier progeny had jumped up and run really well, she would have brought considerably more money, but that’s the way it goes. She ended up bringing in the range we were thinking and we were really fortunate that they bought her. She’s in really great hands and a New York guy racing a nice New York-bred is really special.”

The bay filly, who has raced primarily in her home state, debuted as a 2-year-old last summer at Belmont Park and broke her maiden at Saratoga in her third career start, winning a seven-furlong state-bred maiden special weight by 10 1/2 lengths. In her next start, she won her stakes debut in the Joseph A. Gimma at the Belmont at the Big A meet and later closed out the season with a third in the Dec 3. GII Demoiselle Stakes, just a length behind winner Julia Shining (Curlin).

Returning this January, Gambling Girl was second in the Busanda Stakes, fourth in the GIII Honeybee Stakes in February at Oaklawn, and a hard-fought second in the Apr. 8 GIII Gazelle Stakes, just a head behind fellow Oaks contender Promiseher America (American Pharoah).

Though a small breeding operation with a broodmare band that hovers around 10 to 15 mares, Brody and her team have always prided themselves on producing horses of quality and class, and Gambling Girl is just the latest success story to validate those efforts.

“We had a horse many years ago named Allez Milord [Tom Rolfe], who won a Group 1 in Germany and a Grade I in this country. He was also a champion in Germany and ran second in the [1987] G1 Japan Cup. He was quite an international horse. Icabad Crane [Jump Start] ran third in the GI Preakness several years ago, so we’ve had some pretty good Classic-type horses over the years and a lot of graded stakes winners. We also had a filly a few years ago named Inimitable Romance [Maria’s Mon], who won three graded stakes for us. Maximova [Danehill Dancer {Ire}} is another one of our mares who was a stakes winner and multiple graded stakes placed,” said Mort. “We don’t have that many mares so we don’t get a ton of them, but it’s great when they come along.”

Tulipmania had a full-brother to Gambling Girl last year, who will be heading to the sale ring this summer, and just last week, she foaled a Medaglia d’Oro filly on Apr. 25.

“We’ve always thought that Dialed In is an underrated stallion. For his stud fee, a good one will sell really well, and that’s mainly what we do, so we decided to go back to him. The yearling is a very nice colt as well,” said Mort. “Dialed In was a really good racehorse and I think he is physically a lot different than some of the Mineshafts. [His progeny] are earlier and faster and we liked that. He’s proven to be a pretty darn good sire.”

Gambling Girl’s start in Friday’s Run for the Lilies also stands as a testament to Brody’s dedication to her farm, which her and her late husband Jerry purchased in April of 1976, her horses, and the team that keeps everything going day-in and day-out.

“It’s been great to work for someone that just wants to put the horses and the people first. We try to make some money to keep things going obviously, but really the emphasis is on the horses’ health and the people that are working for us. Anybody that stays in this business for as long as she’s been in it, they just have to love it. They can roll with the punches and those are great people to work for. They know how to enjoy the good times and not take the low too badly, to just keep on going.         She’s been a wonderful person to work for, for this many years, otherwise I wouldn’t have been here for this long,” said Mort.

The farm will only be foaling out four mares this year, and breeding seven back, along with cutting back their racing operation slightly. But even at 91, Brody remains devoted, as she and the rest of the Gallagher’s Stud team look forward to what’s still to come.

“These are the horses we’ve tried to breed for a long time and so it’s very gratifying when one can reach this kind of Classic contention and run in these kinds of races. It’s great. And Gambling Girl being a New York-bred on top of that, obviously we’ve been breeding in New York for over 40 years or something, it’s really nice when this happens. It makes it all worthwhile, even if it doesn’t come around very often,” said Mort.

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