Neko Bay, owned and trained by the same team that handled Zenyatta, upset Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile champion Furthest Land in Saturday's $150,000 San Pasqual Handicap at Santa Anita.
Under jockey Mike Smith, Neko Bay let Furthest Land make all the pace in the 11/16-mile San Pasqual, then came five-wide into the stretch and ran by the tiring favorite to score by 1 3/4 lengths. Spurrier was second and Nownownow finished third while Furthest Land faded to finish last.
Neko Bay, a 7-year-old son of Giant's Causeway, finished in 1:42.95. The John Shirreffs trainee finished sixth behind Furthest Land in the Breeders' Cup, then came back last month to finish third in the Native Diver Handicap at Hollywood Park. Saturday's win was his fifth in just 13 lifetime starts.
"His last race was better than it seems," Smith said. "We were in behind a slow, slow pace, and today John wanted me to get him back and make one run. That's what he did. The way it turned out, I think his last race set him up perfect for today."
Shirreffs said Neko Bay "ran just the way we hoped he would run. We like to have him come off the pace a little bit, and he seems to run a little better if he has something left in the tank. As you can see, he's not a big, strong horse."
In other weekend racing:
A Little Warm rallied from off the pace to capture Saturday's $100,000 Spectacular Bid Stakes -- the first major race of Gulfstream's series for 3-year-olds. The Virginia-bred Stormin Fever colt, with Jeremy Rose riding for trainer Anthony Dutrow, came around the leaders on the turn and drew clear in the final sixteenth, winning by 1 1/2 lengths. Wildcat Frankie was second and Westover Wildcat finished third while the favorite, Discreetly Mine, was fourth after a troubled start. A Little Warm ran the 6 furlongs on a sloppy track in 1:10.25. "He always showed ability," Dutrow said. "But it took a couple of races before he put it all together. Then he really came around when he broke his maiden by 10 in his last start. I see no reason why he won't go on." He said he will consider the 7-furlong Hutcheston Stakes at Gulfstream, which would give the colt a chance to race himself into Florida Derby consideration.
Richiesgirlgonewild led a wild parade of double-digit longshots across the wire at the end of Saturday's $100,000 Old Hat Stakes for 3-year-old fillies. Racing loose on the lead, Richiesgirlgonewild coasted home 1 length to the good of Joanie's Catch. Criolla Bonita was third and the favorite, Cuff Me, settled for fourth. The $1 trifecta paid a wild $18,401.80. Richiesgirlgonewild, a Florida-bred Wildcat Heir filly, finished the 6 furlongs in 1:11.86 on a sloppy track under Timothy Thornton. "We were looking ahead to the OBS races," said winning trainer Larry Rivelli, referring to restricted events at the Ocala Training Center in March. "But now that she's won a graded stakes, that may change. I think she'll go seven-eighths and we'll definitely look at the Forward Gal" at Gulfstream Jan. 31.
Custom For Carlos chased Past the Point into the turn in Saturday's $100,000 Mr. Prospector Stakes, then dueled down the stretch before prevailing by 3/4 length. Presto Change O raced third all the way. Custom For Carlos, a 4-year-old, Kentucky-bred More Than Ready colt, got the 6 furlongs in 1:10.07 under Julien Leparoux. "One option we will consider," said winning trainer Eddie Kenneally, "will be the race in Dubai (the $2 million Golden Shaheen on the World Cup undercard). We won the Mr. Prospector a couple of years ago with Kelly's Landing and two races later he won the Golden Shaheen. But the difference now is that they will be running on the new (synthetic) and he's never run on one. But that is one possible option."
Pretty Prolific came from last of nine to win Saturday's $100,000 Sugar Swirl Stakes for fillies and mares by a head over Warbling. The favorite and early leader, Tar Heel Mom, was only a nose farther back in third. Pretty Prolific, a 4-year-old, Kentucky-bred Lion Heart filly out of the Seattle Slew mare Seattle Way, ran 6 furlongs in 1:10.74 for jockey Edgar Prado. "I was happy to see that my horse broke good," Prado said. "But then she got outrun the first part of the race. I was able to save all the ground on the turn. And she had a nice kick at the end."
Hatfield proved he is the real McCoy in Saturday's $75,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint. The 4-year-old Proud Citizen colt got to the leaders at the top of the stretch, edged clear and held off Hockeythehayman in the final sixteenth to win by 1 length. Little Nick was third. Hatfield, with Javier Castellano up, ran the 5 furlongs on yielding turf in 58.39 seconds. "I loved the way he rated today after winning his two last starts on turf on the lead," said winning trainer Gary Contessa. "He's a little horse and they frequently handle deep going well … I think he's best on turf, but obviously he handles dirt, so we have plenty of options."
Sunday, Duke of Mischief was up just in time to catch Kiss the Kid and win the $100,000 Fort Lauderdale Stakes by a neck. The favorite, Mambo Meister, had a narrow lead turning for home and held on for third. Duke of Mischief, a 4-year-old, Florida-bred Graeme Hall colt, got the 1 mile on the "good" main track in 1:37.7 with Eibar Coa in the irons. The race originally was carded for the turf and the switch resulted in seven scratches.
Age of Humor led all the way to a 1 1/4-lengths victory in Saturday's $65,000 Busanda Stakes for 3-year-old fillies. Fuzzy Britches rallied from last of five to finish second and Judge Sonya was third. The favorite, Anchorage, stumbled at the start and was never in the mix. Age of Humor, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Distorted Humor, ran the 1 mile and 70 yards on the fast inner track in 1:45.87 under Rosie Napravnik. "We were looking forward to running her around two turns," said winning trainer Steve Klesaris. "She struck me as the type who would want to. She had shown enough professionalism in her first two starts that I felt she could handle it. She sells Monday (in Keeneland's Horses of All Ages Sale), so as for what's next, I don't know."
Sunday, Indian Burn burned the chalk players in the $65,000 Ruthless Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, rallying from last of six to win by 1 1/4 lengths at nearly 8-1 odds. Fellow longshot Argent Affair finished second with the favorite, Funny Feeling, getting home third. Indian Burn, a Kentucky-bred Indian Charlie filly, ran 6 furlongs on the fast inner track in 1:14.05 with Richard Migliore up. "The speed set up for her. She likes to close like that," said winning trainer John Hertler. "She broke slowly, but Richie was going to be back there with her anyway. I have no idea what's next for her. I just wanted to get through this one."
Tampa Bay Downs
Sneaking Uponyou didn't need to sneak up on anyone in Saturday's $65,000 Pelican Stakes. Instead, the 4-year-old, Florida-bred Snuck In gelding led all the way to a neck victory over Conchacer. War Fighter finished third. Sneaking Uponyou, with Daniel Centeno up for trainer Jamie Ness, finished the 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:11.21. "Mr. Ness said he was getting sharper and sharper after each race and I should just let him stay with anything that was running early," Centeno said. "Well, we out-broke the field and we just sat there and waited on the other speed and we had enough left to stay on late and win it."
Crisp, fresh off her maiden win and making just her third career start, rallied down the stretch to win Sunday's $100,000 Santa Ysabel Stakes for 3-year-old fillies by 1 length over Evening Jewel. Ellafitz was third and the favorite, Zilva, ran fifth and last all the way around. Crisp, a Kentucky-bred daughter of El Corredor, got the 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:43.56 for jockey Joel Rosario. In her victory, with Rafael Bejarano riding, Crisp blew the stretch turn and had to deliver a super effort to recover in time. "I watched her run the last time," Rosario said, "and she was getting out with Bejarano. I wanted to make sure she was relaxed today. I just wanted to put her where she was going to be comfortable. She's a nice little filly, and she did everything I wanted her to do. She finished great."
St Trinians rallied from off the pace to win Saturday's $65,000 Paseana Handicap for fillies and mares by 3 3/4 lengths over My Baby Baby. Floating Heart finished third. St Trinians, a 5-year-old, British-bred Piccolo mare, ran the 1 1/16 miles on the all-weather track in 1:42.02 under jockey Joel Rosario.
Hallway and odds-on favorite Desert Wheat both charged for the lead early in the stretch run in Saturday's $60,000 Dixie Poker Ace Stakes for Louisiana-bred and Hallway came away with the upset, by a nose. Hallway, a 6-year-old son of Graeme Hall, ran the 1 mile and 40 yards on the fast main track in 1:39.99 under Shaun Bridgmohan. The race was carded for the turf and two of the original nine starters scratched when the surface was changed. "He's a horse that tries pretty hard all the time," Bridgmohan said. "His last race was his first time out in quite a while and he got a little tired. But this time when the other horse came to him, he just dug in a little harder at the wire."
Proud Heiress raced off the pace in Saturday's $50,000 Wishing Well Stakes for fillies and mares, came six-wide around the turn to challenge pace-setting Mindy Queen, and won by 1/2 length after a stretch battle. Rinterval was third. Proud Heiress, a 6-year-old, Kentucky-bred Broken Vow mare, ran the 6 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:11.96 under Rodney Prescott.
Black Hills rallied widest of all in Saturday's $50,000 Winsham Lad Stakes, then easily drew off to win by 3 lengths over Red Lead. The favorite, Riley Tucker, raced evenly to finish third. Black Hills, a 6-year-old, Florida-bred Judge T C gelding, got the 1 mile on a fast track in 1:36.22 under Catalino Martinez.
Sweet Goodbye sat just off the pace in Saturday's $50,000 What a Summer Stakes for fillies and mares, got to the front with a furlong to run and won by 1 length over Royale Michele. Cuvee Uncorked was third as the favorite. Sweet Goodbye, a 5-year-old, Maryland-bred Louis Quatorze mare, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:11.02.
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