but CANADIAN OWNED BLUE EXIT LOSES HIS LIFE
(some files from ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Running for the first time on a synthetic surface, the Brazilian-bred EINSTEIN turned in a virtually picture-perfect performance to win Saturday's $1 million Santa Anita Handicap.
Benefitting from stalking a slow pace in the classic event, Einstein held off a big run from the closers who were handcuffed by the dawdling pace, CHAMPS ELYSEE and COURT VISION were two of those, to win for trainer Helen Pitts-Blasi.
Pitts-Blasi, who trained Curlin before he went on to glory, became the first woman to win the prestigious Big Cap.
"He's a good horse on the turf. He's a good horse on the dirt. He's a good horse on anything," jockey Julien Leparoux said. "We didn't really know about this track, but we were pretty sure he as going to handle it.
"And he did."
Helen Pitts-Blasi, Einstein's trainer, said, "He rode him beautifully. It's an unbelievable feeling, just means the world to me. Einstein was very comfortable with this track from the time he got here."
The 7-year-old son of 1985 Kentucky Derby champion Spend a Buck held off Champs Elysees down the stretch to win by one length. Pacesetter Matto Mondo finished third, another neck behind.
Einstein, who had won on both dirt and grass in his 23 previous races, carried high weight of 121 pounds and covered the 1 1/4 miles in 2:01.93.
His Beyer Figure was 100.
The Santa Anita main track woes continued however. BLUE EXIT, a promising Pulpit colt owned by Canadians Jim and Susan Hill and Harlequin Ranches along with the Blue Exit partnership, broke down on the backstrtech and was put down after the race.
With probable favorite Colonel John scratched from the Big 'Cap,' Einstein went off at 5-1 in the wide-open, 13-horse field. The winner paid $12, $7 and $4.60. Champs Elysees returned $19.40 and $11.60, and Matto Mondo paid $5.20.
Leparoux had Einstein relaxed and in good position in the early going, keeping him third or fourth behind the front-running Matto Mondo before urging him into the lead early in the stretch.
Striding easily, Einstein gamely held off Champs Elyees.
"The winner had a real good trip," said Jose Valdivia Jr., who rode Champs Elysees. "Even though I had a great trip, I think if the pace had been a little hotter, we would have had a better chance at the end.
From Mary Forney's Blog... a tribute to BLUE EXIT
STARDOM BOUND and VENTURE impress
One won, the other didn't, in teeny weeny photo finishes in Grade 1 races yesterday at Santa Anita.And both possibly could have won by a clear margin had it not been for downright awful journeys.
Giving away 4 to 7 paths on the last turn of a 2 turn race when trying to make a rally does not usually work but when the horse is exceptional, then it could work.
STARDOM BOUND (Tapit) is always exciting because she is slow early and then rallies.
But she is not fast, overall, and even though it was a thrilling score with the bad trip, her 87 BEYER SPEED FIGURE does not put her anywhere in range of the colts headed to the Kentucky Derby in 2 months.
"It seemed like she got lost out there early," rider Mike Smith said. "We had a terrible trip. When I moved out with her turning for home, everybody else went out at the same time and we got caught really wide.
"At the wire, though, she put her ears up. Maybe this is the kind of race she needed."
Part owner Mike Iavarone, asked if the Santa Anita Derby might be next for Stardom Bound, said, "I think she worked pretty hard today against the girls. She's going to have to really prove herself to handle horses like Pioneer of the Nile.
The mare, 2nd in the Woodbine Mile last year, made her move to the lead in early stretch but was nabbed late - she too made a full throttle while widest move and that cost her.
The pace in this race was slow and the winner, a homebred for David Lanzman (a $95,000 buy-back at auction) dueled with Mr. Fantasy to the top of the stretch before turning on the jets.This colt, by Stephen Got Even out of an Argentine family and a mare by Roy, had been chasing Pioneer of the Nile in California recently.
He has to be considered a top Derby candidate now based on his apparent love for real dirt.
Jockey Joe Talamo said: "I had so much horse the whole way around. Me and Alan (Garcia aboard Mr. Fantasy) were going pretty slow, but at the 1/4 pole, my horse just took off. There is no comparison between real dirt and synthetic – he really took to it. I had so much horse, I was smiling once he inherited the lead. Just an unbelievable animal. When we went past the 3/16 pole, I was smiling. We'll be back in four weeks. (Wood Memorial)"
Champion, a Canadian-bred and a Canadian-trained gal
At Oaklawn today for the Grade 3 Azeri Stajes, Canadian champion BEAR NOW, sold by Bear Stables last fall, is meeting Canadian-bred 4yo Maren's Meadow and Josie Carroll trainee SMART SURPRISE in the 1 1/16 mile race.
1 Acoma Empire Maker Carroll 2-1
DAYLIGHT EXPRESS, bred by Edward Evans in Virginia, was up to win the Sandy Lane Gold Cup at Garrison Savannah yesterday in Barbados.The Seeking Daylight colt was ridden by Anderson Ward.
Woodbine jockey JONO JONES was unplaced aboard PURE TEMPTATION.
SANDY LANE BARBADOS GOLD CUP S.-Listed,Bds$210,375, Garrison Savannah, 3-7, 3yo/up,1800mT, 1:51.20, gd/fm.
RESULT CHART FROM THOROUGHBRED DAILY NEWS
1--DAYLIGHT EXPRESS, 125, c, 4, Seeking Daylight--Ransom Dance, by Red Ransom. ($1,000 yrl >06FTMOCT). O-Lord Michael Taylor-Clifton Racing;B-E P Evans (VA); T-R Peirce; J-A Ward; Bds$120,375.Lifetime Record: 11-6-2-0. *1/2 to Hidden Ransom(Silver Ghost), MSW, $182,307; Diamond Spirit (HolyBull), MGSP, $173,292; and Ghost Dancing (SilverGhost), SW, $163,897. Werk Nick Rating: B.Click for the eNicks report and 5-cross pedigree.
And so he did, finishing in front by a length with a strong stretch drive under jockey Julien Leparoux.
"Julien couldn't have ridden him better," Pitts-Blasi said.
There was coincidence.
And more coincidence.