A full race card, packed with exciting stakes races, made this Saturday, the 4th, a great day. Many-up and-comers showed their stuff, while others didn’t quite make it, but some promising three-year-olds hit the mark. Looks like some good Kentucky Derby hopefuls for this year’s running, too!
Reach the World was the heavy favorite in the 1st and did not disappoint. The gray Baffert trained colt, who is Derby eligible, led the way down the backstretch and drew clear under urging from jockey, Mike Smith. The other gray in the field, Honor and Courage, was clearly second best, with Flavien Prat aboard. Fun fact, horses in the 1st finished in exact order of betting odds. Good job, bettors!
The 2nd, the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (Grace III), saw second favorite, Royal Mo, another Kentucky Derby eligible horse, and Victor Espinoza clearing the field midstretch and never looking back. The steadily improving Irap and Mario Gutierrez finished second, just edging out the bettors’ favorite, Sheer Flattery and Mike Smith.
In the third, the Grade II Palos Verdes Stakes, the clear favorite again took the lead and dominated the field when St. Joe Bay took his third straight victory. Ridden by Kent Desormeaux, the St. Anddan gelding dueled before the far turn but put Moe Candy and Victor Espinoza in his wake with little effort.
Siberian Iris rallied before the wire and came away clear to win the 4th, under a ride from Alex Solis. Siberian Iris settled off the pace, right beside Solis’s son, Austin and his mount, Having Fun. The son did not fare as well as the father, with Austin’s horse finishing seventh, however the crowd cheered them on good-naturedly, most hoping to see a Solis exacta (someday perhaps!). Siberian Iris, at odds of 7 to 1, and place finisher Lizmeister, at 53 to 1, paid $338.10 for the exacta.
Tattooed Kitty came to the wire alone to win the 5th, under jockey, Ruben Fuentes. Betting favorite, Munny Spunt finished an acceptable second, with Lofty Cause taking the show. Edwin Maldonado picked up the mount on the show finisher from Norberto Arroyo Jr.
Gangster and Rafael Bejarano went off as the favorite but could not hold off rival, Fabozzi, who came on late in the stretch under urging from Flavien Prat to win the 6th. Stringent and Joseph Talamo finished out the order of placing, with the trifecta paying a nice $769.40, if you were lucky enough to have the winning combo. Fabozzi started off an amazing win streak for Flavien Prat, as well.
Avicii rallied late but won clear under Flavien Prat in the 7th, leaving behind favorite, Plane Lucky and Rafael Bejarano, who could not catch the winner. Calm the Sea took the show.
The feature race of the day was the 8th, the San Antonio Stakes (Grace II), which saw Mor Spirit as the odds on favorite at the start. After the break, Hoppertunity hung way back under Prat, who expertly kept the six-year-old horse off the pace, but the horse responded when asked and took off.
Hoppertunity passed the field and got up late to edge out Mor Spirit and Accelerate.
In the 9th and final race, Flavien Prat went four straight in his ride on Isotherm, a 7 to 1 shot in a field of nine. Isotherm finished gamely in this race, the San Marcos (Grade II), with Itsinthepost taking the place and Flamboyant rounding out the order of finish. The winning trifecta paid $318.40 to complete the day.