By now everyone knows there will be no Triple Crown this year. Cloud Computing dashed the hopes of Always Dreaming in the Preakness, who was never really a factor, and the rest of us will have to keep dreaming for another year.
At Santa Anita, the day started off with stakes action and the Crystal Waters Stakes. What a View and Tyler Baze went to the lead as the pack passed the stands, and the gelding by Vronsky never looked back. He held off rival, Pee Wee Reese, with Joseph Talamo aboard, who got the place, and Smokey Image took the place. Burnaroundtheedges was scratched.
In the 2nd, a maiden special weight, Drizzy and Joseph Talamo drifted to the outside in the stretch but managed to lead clear to win, at odds of 5 to 1. 24 to 1 long shot, Lucky Pegasus and Agapito Delgadillo got up to place, paying out $91.70 on a dollar exacta. With 2 to 1 Moonlight Praise rounding out the finished, a winning trifecta ticket paid $489.50. Drizzy survived a quick inquiry made by an assistant trainer for Lucky Pegasus, but the stewards voted there was no interference, as claimed.
The All Button dueled with Excavation in the stretch, but Rafael Bejarano got The All Button up just ahead of his rival in the 3rd, the Ehrlich Stakes. Excavation and Tyler Baze were bumped at the start and seemed to fade a bit before coming back and just getting edged out. 13 to 1 shot, Desert General and Stewart Elliott got the show.
The 4th was a surprise hit for long shots. The 6 furlong race on the main track saw 6 to 1 shot Munny Spunt and Jamie Theriot inch clear at the far turn, drawing away to win over Quality Key and Brayan Pena, who were 17 to 1. Long shot Anita G and Austin Solis, at odds of 15 to 1, rounded out the finish. This trifecta paid out $898.40 to those lucky bettors. A dollar superfecta produced $4361.70.
Heavily favored, Heavenly Thought did not disappoint in the 5th. Though she bobbled at the start, Flavien Prat set Heavenly Thought on the right path to gain the lead past the eighth pole. Scandal and Corey Nakatani gave a good shot at catching the leader but settled for
the place. Midnight Lilly and Rafael Bejarano closed willingly and rounded out the order of finish.
In the 6th, jockey Edgar Orozco and Julia’s Summer shocked the crowd when they won at odds of 53 to 1. The Summer Bird gelding was slow at the start but charged home to get up ahead of Red Carpet Cat and Evin Roman, just before the wire. A win bet on Julia’s Summer paid $108.80. A $1.00 superfecta paid a whopping $11,595.60.
The 7th race saw Oscar Dominguez and Rafael Bejarano rallying to gain the lead in deep stretch and running down favorite, Klondike Creek and Flavien Prat, who held the place. With 20 to 1 On Draft and Evin Roman coming from way behind to grab the show, the winning trifecta paid out $233.80.
West Coast was heavily favored in the 8th, going off at 1 to 5, with Martin Garcia on board. There was no disappointment here, as the Flatter colt inched away then got ahead of rival Magical Mystery and Evin Roman to get the win. Jockey Evin Roman hit the board three races in a row at the 8th, this time on an 11 to 1 long shot. Not bad! 13 to 1 shot General Ike and Joseph Talamo got up for third.
The 9th race was the Kona Gold Stakes (Grade II), for three-year-olds and up. Lord Simba was the favorite at the start but just didn’t have enough to catch the first and second place finishers. Ransom the Moon and Flavien Prat were five wide in the stretch then gain the lead and won ahead of Moe Candy and Santiago Gonzalez. The popular Lord Simba and Martin Garcia were edged out and took show. Interesting to those who bet gray horses, the first four starters in this race were all variations of gray – Moe Candy in the one slot, Calculator in the two hole, Kobe’s Back in the three and Kentuckian number four. Only gray, Moe Candy had the right stuff in this race.
Another gray took home a win in the 10th, with heavy favorite, Tony Blackjack proving best under urging from jockey, Joseph Talamo. And lastly, Wood Machine and Gary Stevens rallied to win the 11th and final race on the card.
Runners for the Belmont Stakes are still up in the air, but it looks like we’ll see Cloud Computing and Classic Empire both return, with Always Dreaming a possibility too. We’ve got a couple weeks to see what happens!