The unexpected was the norm on this hot, muggy Saturday as Santa Anita closed out its spring meet. Favorites fluctuated all day, with some hitting the wire and others heavily disappointing fans. Belmont races divided up the day decently well, as Santa Anita broadcasted the many stakes in between their own races, with an amazing performance by Catch a Glimpse standing out. Catch a Glimpse won the Belmont Oaks Invitational, earning her a guaranteed place in the Filly and Mare Turf Division race at Breeders’ Cup later this year.
Santa Anita’s 1st race was just as exciting, with three horses coming to the wire together. Fruity and Flavien Prat stuck a nose in front to get the win over favorite, Miss Bliss and Alonso Quinonez. Sparkling Peg, who was worked up in the paddock and had to be escorted out by outrider, Camacho and his horse, Justin, with jockey, Edwin Maldonado got the show. L.A. Magic was a close fourth.
Quality Boy, with Abel Lezcano aboard, dueled outside of He’s a Knockout and Flavien Prat but got the win in the 2nd, denying Prat two in a row. The 3rd saw two horses scratched, leaving a field of six, and Flavien Prat got that second win on Enduring Erin, who cleared the field, beating out Intoxicating Move and Rafael Bejarano.
The 4th race saw all eyes on Firing Line, who famously ran second to Triple Crown winner, American Pharoah in the 2015 Kentucky Derby. Firing Line had been on a long layoff but recorded some good workouts in the mornings at Santa Anita recently. He was bet down to even money odds but Firing Line did not fire.
Chad Lindsay on 11 to 1 longshot Conquest Cobra beat out Batti Man and Jamie Theriot at the wire in the 4th. Chad Lindsay lost his whip in the final stretch run but Conquest Cobra did the job and got his head in front. Firing Line seemed to have nothing in the tank and finished fifth in the field of six. Conquest Cobra shares the same sire as Firing Line’s adversary, American Pharoah: Pioneerof the Nile.
Rafael Bejarano got a win on Theonewewaitedfor in the 5th, the Landaluce Stakes, drawing well away from favorite, Miss Southern Miss, who had a stunning debut back in June. 50 to 1 longshot, Demigoddess and Brandon Boulanger came up to get the show. An early favorite before the post, Chalon was a vet scratch just prior to loading the gate.
Wildfire Kid gave Chad Lindsay his second win on the day in the Speedball Starter Handicap, the 6th race on the card, when he beat out Too Fast to Pass and Santiago Gonzalez, once again leaving a heavy favorite in the dust as Navy Hymn did not rally and finished fourth. Race 7 saw Minister’sadventure and Martin Garcia getting his head in front of Conquest So True and Chad Lindsay.
The Santa Anita Juvenile Stakes, race 8, saw favorites fluctuate as some promising two-year-olds approached the gate. California Diamond and Edwin Maldonado proved best as they came to the wire alongside Green With Eddie and Flavien Prat. Silver Assault missed the start and stumbled but got to keep his show placing after a stewards’ inquiry noted he was the cause of his own problems and did not affect any other horses. We will probably see more from each of these youngsters as we look for the next batch of Kentucky Derby runners for 2017.
The 9th and final race on the card saw Boone Docks and Jamie Theriot hitting the wire alone. Woody’s Folly and Edwin Maldonado edged out rival, Curly Road, with Tyler Baze aboard, creating a $176 trifecta to end the day on a good payout and creating a Pick 6 carryover into Sunday.
Sunday also ends the spring race meet and Santa Anita racing will return Friday, September 30th.