NILE BEST BY A MILE
94 Beyer Figure to win
The Kentucky Derby trail produced an exciting result yesterday when PIONEEROF THE MILE ran to expectations and won the Robert Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita yesterday with a wild stretch kick.
The Zayat Stables, Bob Baffert trainee was ridden by Garret Gomez.
The pace was fast early in the Lewis as Brother Keith was eager and Papa Clem stalked him closely.
Pioneerof the Nile was always well back in the field until, like so many other races at Santa Anita yesterday, the field bunched up around the turn.
Papa Clem, meanwhile, secured the lead and hung tough until late before 'Nile' surged past.
The Mark Casse trainee SHAFTED was last early in the race and had no kick at all
PIONEEROF THE NILE was bought back by Zayat at auction for $290,000 and he is by Empire Maker out of the Lord at War mare Star of Goshen.
Over at FAIR GROUNDS in the RISEN STAR STAKES, the results chart says that FRIESAN FIRE (A.P. Indy) was "clearly best" and certainly he was after a very clear trip.
But the story of the race had to be some nightmarish journeys by others in the big field.
Notably, favoured GIANT OAK had almost a comical journey from far back. The large Giant's Causeway colt stayed inside and well back early in the race, moved up down the bactstretch but hit a wall of horses and had to stop, was in the 2 path turning for home and trapped and jockey Edgar Prado had to get the colt all the way out some 6 or 7 paths off the turn to get clear sailing.
SOUL WARRIOR tried a big run up the rail leaving the three-quarter pole and then was stopped and he was 6th at the end just behind the Oak.
FLYING PEGASUS races about twice as far as anyone else in a wide trip.
Tab these ones for the La. Derby.
For PATENA fans, the win by FRIESAN FIRE made that guy look good. Now in the stable of Rick Dutrow, the Ieah colt, co-owned by a group of Canadians, was 2nd to that one in the Lecomte Stakes and will head to the La. Derby next month.
STARDOM BOUND, the grey stretch-running filly, won the Las Virgene with a thrilling rally but a soft 84 Beyer Figure.
She will meet boys in the Santa Anita Derby on April 4.
At Aqueduct, HAYNESFIELD (PHOTO AT RIGHT BY SARAH K. ANDREW) led all the way and won the Whirlaway Stakes with a 90 BEYER SPEED FIGURE.
The colt is by Speightstown out of the Canadian-bred mare NOTHING SPECIAL., a Graded stakes placed daughter of the Canadian stallion Tejabo.
CANADIAN-OWNED BLUE EXIT strong 2nd in STRUB
It seemed to take him a little while to get going but the white blinkered BLUE EXIT powered between a crowd in early strtech and closed fast in the 9 furlong Strub Stakes yesterday at Santa Anita and just missed catching COWBOY CAL to win the Grade 2.
Owned by Harlequin Ranches and Jim and Susan Hill of western Canada along with Blue Exit partnership, the pulpit colt was making just his 4th start in North America.
That race should set him up very well for the Santa Anita Handicap.
FAIR GROUNDS YESTERDAY
Canadian-bred SHILLA was last of four in the 6 furlong Pan Zareta Stakes after stalking the pace in 2nd most of the way.
Canadian-owned GOOD AND LUCKY was 2nd in the Minshaft Stakes as the 5yo Honest Man turned the tables on Jim and Alice Sapara's gelding (from the Louisiania Handicap on Jan. 10).
The Florida bred by Wild Rush was always in close attendance of the slow pace but finished evenly as Honest Man, by Unbridled's Song darted clear for trainer Larry Jones.
In the FAIR GROUNDS HANDICAP, Sam-Son Farms' FRENCH BERET faded to be 6th as one of the favourites fresh off his Colonel Bradley Handicap (Grade 3) win. The 6yo gelding was likely reacting off that tough race as many closers blew past him in the stretch despite the slow pace (52 and change for the half mile).
But Sam-Son's younger gelding WINDWARD ISLANDS was a fast closing 2nd in his 3rd race since a short layoff and the Cozzene gelding seems to be on the right track now.
The winner was the Johannesburg horse DIAMOND TYCOON, who was winning his 3rd race in succession.