HALLANDALE BEACH, FL—Trainer Jose D’Angelo made it a priority to renew his passport this week following Gabaldon’s impressive debut victory in the $120,000 Royal Palm Juvenile on May 11 at Gulfstream Park.

Owned by Soldi Stable LLC, Gabaldon earned his way to Great Britain with the Royal Palm score and his 34-year-old trainer couldn’t be more excited. D’Angelo will saddle the 2-year-old Florida-bred colt for start in a stakes during the prestigious Royal Ascot Meet to be run June 18-22.

Gabaldon demonstrated speed and grit in the Royal Palm, a five-furlong turf sprint for 2-year-olds that offered the winner an automatic stakes berth at Royal Ascot, as well as a $25,000 travel stipend. A $9,000 purchase at the 2023 Ocala Breeders’ Sales October sale, the son of Pleasant Acres Stallion Gone Astray won the Royal Palm by a length-and-a-quarter in :56.20 on the firm turf.

“I knew he was ready. When we worked him in company, he was perfect,” D’Angelo said. “We bought the horse with the idea to run him in the [FTBOA] Florida Sire Stakes. One day, when I tried him on the grass, he was better on grass than dirt. So that’s why we tried him in the [Royal Palm]. I thought he would run big. They went fast. I think he has a big chance to win over there.”

Gabaldon is out of Valuable Miss, by Value Plus and was bred in Florida by Carol Ann Reitman, Susan Gannon and Warren Miller. He earned $57,500 in winning the Royal Palm.

D’Angelo, who has established himself as a young trainer on the rise since venturing from Venezuela to South Florida in 2018, has made three trans-Atlantic trips for stakes engagements in recent years.

After saddling Jesus’ Team for a third-place finish in the 2020 TVG.com Preakness (G1) and second place finishes in the 2020 Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) and 2021 Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1), D’Angelo traveled to Dubai, where his former claimer finished sixth in the 2021 Dubai World Cup (G1).

In February, D’Angelo finished third in the Saudi Derby (G3) with Bentornato, a multiple stakes-winning Florida-bred. In March, he traveled again to Dubai with Caramel Chip, who finished sixth in the Godolphin Mile (G2).

“We’re very excited to go to Royal Ascot. We went to Saudi with Bentornato. We went to Dubai with Jesus’ Team and Caramel Chip. We almost got to the [Kentucky] Derby with No More Time this year,” D’Angelo said. No More Time won the Sam F. Davis (G3) and was second by a nose to Domestic Product in the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby (G2).

“I’m feeling so blessed and happy to go to all the places the horses have brought me. For a while my goal was to run there. Now we have to win over there.”

Emisael Jaramillo, Venezuela’s all-time leading rider before establishing himself at Gulfstream Park, will ride Gabaldon at Royal Ascot.

Return to the May 29 issue of Wire to Wire