Mohawk Million Night
Summer & Natalma Stakes
Prince of Wales Stakes
Del Mar Futurity Day
Kent Desormeaux celebrates aboard Stilleto Boy after winning the Big Cap.
The highlight race of the Santa Anita winter-spring meeting is the $500,000 Santa Anita Handicap (G1) presented by Yaamava' Resort and Casino, featuring the best older handicap horses on the west coast going 1 1/4 miles over the main track in Arcadia. Conditions were typical for early March for the 18,173 fans in attendance, with cloudy skies and temperatures in the high 50's, with the main track rated fast and turf going firm. Defunded was sent off as the 6-5 favorite in the field of 9 off his second place finish in the Pegasus World Cup (G1) after winning the Awesome Again (G1) and Native Diver (G3). In to challenge him included 3-1 second choice Proxy, winner of the Clark (G1) before finishing 5th in the Pegasus, and 13-2 third choice Hopper, second in the San Pasqual (G2) after winning the Affirmed (G3).
Down the stretch in the Santa Anita Handicap
Jockey Juan Hernandez sent Defunded to the lead first time by through fractions of 23.34, 46.16, 1:10.72, and 1:35.10 while pressed by Hopper and stalked by 1-1 Stilleto Boy and 8-1 Warrant. Turning for home, Defunded continued to lead to the 1/8 pole, but Stilleto Boy, after saving ground early under Kent Desormeaux, came out 3 wide and outfinished late-running Proxy by a nose to win in 2:01.96. It was 1/2 a length back to Defunded third.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 4 Stilleto Boy Desormeaux 29.80 11.00 4.40 11 Proxy Velazquez 4.60 2.60 5 Defunded Hernandez 2.40 Winning Time: 2:01.96 $1 Exacta 4-11 64.80 $0.50 Trifecta 4-11-5 79.65 $0.10 Superfecta 4-11-5-8 81.44
Left: Stilleto Boy in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Ed Moger Jr. said, "I've been telling everyone that he is the best horse in racing. Defunded barely beat us (in the Pegasus World Cup), so I knew we could beat him because we had beaten him before, I though he was the horse to beat. I thought he could win, and he's been training great. I wasn't upset that they weren't training out here. It's got to make a difference and I'll take it. Once they hit the wire, I thought we had it. I thought he was going to run second then all of a sudden everything changed, and he won. I love the horse. It is a great race to win in California, it's been a famous race for a long time and it feels great to win it. There was no Flightline today, no Knicks Go, or Life Is Good, so here we are. It was a perfect ride."
Right: Stilleto Boy in the paddock before the race. Winning owner Steve Moger said, "Pretty amazing, it's been a long ride. Thanks to Kent he did a great job and my brother." Winning jockey Kent Desormeaux added, " "I just wanted to let him run out front, but they shut me off and we had to settle back. He wasn't enjoying himself getting hit by dirt, so we moved out and he kept going. At the 3 1/2 (furlongs), I asked him for his best, but there was nowhere to go. Then at the 2 1/2, I asked him again and he made the drive. I was yelling at him and pushing him and he gave me everything. I didn't know until two jumps prior to the wire that we were going to get there."
Left: Second place finisher Proxy in the post parade. The Mike Stidham trainee improved his record to 4 wins, 6 seconds, and 2 thirds in 15 starts, earning $1,155,220 for owner-breeder Godolphin.
Right: Third place finisher and beaten favorite Defunded returns after the race. The Bob Baffert trainee improved his record to 5 wins, 4 seconds, and 2 thirds in 15 starts, earning $1,228,100 for owners Mike Pegram, Karl Watson, and Paul Weitman.
Practical Move wins the San Felipe
Jockey Mike Smith sent Hejazi to the lead first time by through fractions of 23.1, 47.12, and 1:11.08 while pressed by Geaux Rocket Ride and stalked by 7-1 Fort Bragg and 4-1 fourth choice Practical Move. Turning for home, jockey Ramon Vazquez sent Practical Move through on the inside to gain the lead through 1 mile in 1:35.67. Kept to task by Vazquez, Practical Move drew off to win by 2 1/2 lengths over favorite Geaux Rocket Ride in 1:42.01. It was another 1 1/4 lengths back to late-runnin Skinner third.
Left: Practical Move in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Tim Yakteen said, He is a phenomenally gifted horse. I am amazed at how strong he is and how he has matured from a two-year-old to a three-year-old. Everything has fallen into place. There was only one challenge before this race, I felt we needed to get one more work in. There is nothing more satisfying than winning, so I am taking this in stride. I have to give kudos to my staff and thank them for the job they have done. They are the unsung heroes here. I've also got to tip my hat to Leslie (Amestoy) and Jean Pierre (Amestoy). They were the ones who went to Florida and bought this horse. I plan to start him again. I want to leave the canvas blank now and we'll make the call later, but I think he will have one more start before the Derby."
Right: Practical Move gets a kiss after the race. Winning jockey Ramon Vazquez said, "This horse keeps getting better and better every day. He can go inside or outside. He is comfortable wherever. He lets me do my job and he does the rest. I only rode him once (In the Los Alamitos Futurity), but I know he is very aggressive from the gate, so I let him do his thing. He galloped out very good. I have always dreamed of winning the Kentucky Derby. I had one previous chance in 2015 (aboard Mr. Z) for Mr. (D. Wayne) Lukas. I'm hoping for another chance here."
Left: Second place finisher and beaten favorite Geaux Rocket Ride in the paddock before the race. The Richard Mandella trainee improved his record to 1 wins and 1 second in 2 starts, earning $120,200 for owner Pin Oak Stud.
Right: Third place finisher Skinner in the post parade. The John Shirreffs trainee improved his record to 1 wins, 0 seconds, and 2 thirds in 5 starts, earning $126,300 for owner C R K Stable.
Down the stretch in the San Felipe Stakes.
Gold Phoenix wins the Frank E. Kilroe Mile
Jockey Juan Hernandez sent Air Force Red to the lead first time by through fractions of 23.08, 47.06, and 1:10.55 while pressed by 10-1 Masteroffoxhounds and stalked by 37-1 longest shot Cabo Spirit and favorite Hong Kong Harry. Turning for home Air Force Red continued to lead through 7f in 1:22.24 before tiring late. 11-1 Gold Phoenix, 6th early under Kazushi Kimura, came out 4 wide between horses to outfinish deep-closing 10-1 Du Jour by a neck in 1:34.45. It was another 3/4 length back to Cabo Spirt third, and a neck more to Hong Kong Harry fourth.
Left: Gold Phoenix in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Phil D'Amato said, "(Kazushi) has ridden two horses for me now and both wins. He saved every inch of ground, waited, split horses, and did everything I told him. He's a horse that's kind of lazy to switch leads and he got him to switch leads down the stretch and mow em' down. I think he's going to be a nice addition to the colony, and I think he will be here next year longer. I can't say enough about a great ride. It definitely set him up for the Charles Whittingham (Apr. 7) here going 1 1/4."
Right: Gold Phoenix in the walking ring. Winning jockey Kazushi Kimura said, "This horse hadn't run since the Breeders' Cup and it's the first time I've ridden him. I just wanted to get a good position at the break and maybe we'll get lucky and finish second or third. I was sitting right behind Joe Bravo (Cabo Spirit) and at the three-eighths, I was looking for a good position. He was looking around and once we hit the lane, we saw the opening between horses and he exploded. This is my third Grade I win, my first at Santa Anita."
Left: Second place finisher Du Jour in the paddock. The Bob Baffert trainee improved his record to 3 wins, 3 seconds, and 2 thirds in 11 starts, earning $671,720 for owners Natalie J. Baffert and Debbie Lanni.
Right: Third place finisher Cabo Spirit in the post parade. The George Papaprodromou trainee improved his record to 4 wins, 3 seconds, and 4 thirds in 18 starts, earning $507,060 for owner Kretz Racing.
Fourth place finisher and beaten favorite Hong Kong Harry in the walking ring. The Phil D'Amato trainee has a record of 9 wins, 2 seconds, and 1 third in 14 starts, earning $595,097 for owners Scott Anastasi, Jimmy Ukegawa, and Tony Valazza.
Kicking off the stakes action was the $200,000 Buena Vista Stakes (G2) featuring a field of 7 older fillies and mares going 1 mile on the turf. Autumn Miss (G3) third place finisher Kitty Kitana was sent off as the 3-1 favorite over 13-4 second choice Quattroelle, winner of the Megahertz (G3), and 7-2 third choice Macadamia off an allowance win.
Jockey Flavien Prat sent Kitty Kitana to the lead first time by through fractions of 23.32 and 47.96 while pressed by 28-1 longest shot Tik Tok Famous and stalked by 11-2 School Dance. At the 7/16 pole Prat pulled up Kitty Kitana allowing Tik Tok Famous to inherit the lead through 3/4 in 1:12.42. Turning for home, Tik Tok Famous also tired as 5-1 fourth choice Nadette gained the lead through 7f in 1:24.11 before tiring late. Quattroelle, fifth early under Hector Berrios, came out 5 wide and rallied to outfinish Macadamia to win by 1/2 a length in 1:35.74. It was another length back to 6-1 Closing Remarks third.
Left: Quattroelle in the winner's circle. Winning jockey Hector Berrios said, "Patience is what I had. When you know you have a good mare, you can just wait for the right time to make your move. She was ready to move on the turn. When you are (on) the favorite, everyone is looking at you. I waited for that moment to move and she did the rest."
Right: Quattroelle returns after the race. Winning trainer Jeff Mullins said, "Hector has really figured her out. It wasn't until her last race in the Megahertz that he decided to just be a little more patient and it worked. She came out of that race really well and she's trained just as she's always had. We just knew. Today she just got a cleaner trip. Hector just sat there, and sat there, I thought, 'Man you gotta go some time,' and she just kicked away. Hector is the key to this filly right now."
Left: Second place finisher Macadamia in the paddock. The Phil D'Amato trainee improved her record to 3 wins, 3 seconds, and 2 thirds in 11 starts, earning $144,413 for owner R Unicorn Stable.
Right: Third place finisher Closing Remarks in the walking ring. The Carla Gaines trainee improved her record to 3 wins, 5 seconds, and 4 thirds in 17 starts, earning $434,820 for owner-breeder Harris Farms.
Beaten favorite Kitty Kitana who pulled up at the 7/16 pole in the post parade. The Phil D'Amato trainee has a record of 2 wins, 5 seconds, and 2 thirds in 10 starts, earning $177,023 for owners Little Red Feather Racing and Sterling Stables.
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