Sunday’s 5TH race at Santa Anita was supposed to be all about Bob Baffert firster Bezos, but the bubble burst for the Kentucky Derby (G1) hopeful. As the 3-5 favorite sputtered, the 20-1 Dream Shake easily outmoved him in a slam-dunk debut.
Trained by Peter Eurton for Exline-Border Racing, SAF Racing, and Richard Hausman, Dream Shake was one of the longest shots on the board in the 6 1/2-furlong maiden. The hype was in full swing on Bezos, so much so that he had been an individual interest in Pool 2 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager despite being unraced, and attracted enough support to close at 26-1. Bettors seeking alternatives to Bezos on Sunday gravitated toward Mr. Impossible, 7-2 after chasing Baffert’s Concert Tour home Jan. 15, and the 6-1 Tivoli Twirl, who had the “other Baffert” angle going for him.
Dream Shake brought an unassuming sales history, as a $32,000 Keeneland September yearling and $75,000 juvenile at the OBS Spring Sale last June. But his pedigree was solid. The Twirling Candy colt is out of Even Song, a daughter of Street Cry and Grade 3-winning near-millionaire Brownie Points. That makes Even Song a half to multiple Grade 2 hero Synchrony and Grade 3 vixen Chocolate Kisses, herself by Twirling Candy’s sire Candy Ride.
With Joel Rosario aboard, Dream Shake broke from the outside post 9 and settled near the rear of the field. Up front, Tivoli Twirl rattled off a :23.40 opening quarter, pressed by Mr. Impossible on his inside, with Bezos flanking him on the outside in a close third. Mr. Impossible poked his head in front at the half in :46.19, and Tivoli Twirl began to telegraph that he was done. Bezos didn’t exactly fill his backers with confidence at that point either, as a colt of his reputation should have been asserting.
Instead, Dream Shake was the Triple Crown nominee making the eye-catching move on the far turn. Rolling right past Bezos and Mr. Impossible, the dark bay dispatched the salty field in short order and opened up by 4 3/4 lengths. Dream Shake crossed the wire in 1:17.34 and sparked a $42 win payout.
Harbored Memories finished well in a clear second, the same position he held behind John Sadler’s well-regarded Rock Your World in their mutual debut on turf. Mr. Impossible, scratched from Saturday’s San Vicente (G2) rather than face Concert Tour again, tired to third. But he fared by far the best of the pace factors.
Bezos was empty by the top of the stretch, tenderly handled by Mike Smith, and beaten more than 15 lengths in seventh. Tivoli Twirl was even further back as the last of nine.
Eurton said that Dream Shake had been giving encouraging signs, but the depth of this maiden made his chances a tough read.
“The things that he did in in his first half-miles were quite impressive,” the trainer said of his early workouts, “but we never really tested him. We’ve always worked him against mediocrity most of the time and he’s done that pretty easily, so we were all optimistic about him, but you really don’t know until you put ‘em in the gate against the quality (competition) that we had today.
“Against a field of this stature today, I would’ve been happy with anything fourth and above. Now that he’s done this, it’s just a question of how he comes back. I think anything further, seven furlongs to a mile, would be very good.
“We’ll just try to enjoy this for now, but trust me, we’ll probably be looking for a race before the evening has ended.
“He’s such a smart horse. At the beginning, he was a little bit green. He wouldn’t run inside, so we put blinkers on him. As soon as he started becoming aware of things, he did everything pretty handily.”
Dream Shake, who was bred by Dunwoody Farm in Kentucky, opened his bank account with a $36,600 deposit. Judging by this premiere, he could end up outstripping the last high-profile upsetter for Exline-Border and Eurton – 2019 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) shocker Storm the Court.