July 14, 2024

Stilleto Boy turns back Express Train in Californian

Stilleto Boy and jockey Juan Hernandez win the Californian Stakes (Photo by Benoit Photo)

A crucial scratch from Saturday’s $196,000 Californian S. (G2) at Santa Anita left a vacuum as to who would set the pace in the nine-furlong fixture for older horses, and Stilleto Boy filled it.

Although he hadn’t made an early lead on the main track since winning the Iowa Derby last July, Stilleto Boy took full advantage of the withdrawal by Shaaz to outrun 2-5 favorite Express Train in the Californian under Juan Hernandez.

Stilleto Boy led Express Train by a half-length through a quarter in :22.92 and a half in :46.30, but the favorite ultimately couldn’t keep pace. Stilleto Boy opened up his advantage on the far turn and extended it to 2 1/4 lengths at the finish. Express Train finished 22 lengths clear of third-place Spielberg, who was 4 1/4 lengths ahead of Holden the Lute.

Owned by Steve Moger and trained by Ed Moger Jr., Stilleto Boy returned $6 after covering the course in 1:48.07 over a fast track.

A four-year-old gelding, Stilleto Boy improved his career mark to 15-3-3-6, $1,031,175. In addition to his two stakes wins, the son of Shackleford has placed four times at Grade 1 level in the 2021 Awesome Again and Malibu, and in the Pegasus World Cup and Santa Anita H. earlier this term.

Bred in Kentucky by John Kerber and Iveta Kerber, Stilleto Boy was sold after his Iowa Derby triumph last summer for $420,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Horses of Racing Age Sale. He was produced by the Marquetry mare Rosie’s Ransom, who has also reared the stakes-winning Rosie My Rosie.

Santa Margarita S. (G2)

Blue Stripe made no impact in her U.S. debut in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) last November following a six-month layoff. But the Argentinean import was ready following a spell of similar duration on Saturday when wearing down 11-10 favorite Miss Bigly in the $202,000 Santa Margarita S. (G2).

Ridden by Tyler Baze, Blue Stripe saved ground while rating in midpack, swung outside turning for home, and steadily wore down Miss Bigly while being floated out by that rival. The winning margin was one length, with Miss Bigly 6 1/2 lengths clear of third-place Varda.

Owned by Pozo de Luna and trained by Marcelo Polanco, Blue Stripe covered 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.52 and paid $14.80.

This was the fifth win in eight career starts for Blue Stripe, who qualified for last year’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Del Mar by winning the Gran Premio Criadores (G1) at the Palermo course in Buenos Aires on May 1. Blue Stripe finished seventh in the Distaff, 16 lengths behind upset winner Marche Lorraine.

A five-year-old by Equal Stripes, Blue Stripe is a half-sister to 2019 Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner Blue Prize. Both were reared by Group 2 winner Blues for Sale, a daughter of Not for Sale.

Charles Whittingham S. (G2)

Beyond Brilliant didn’t need to be to capture the $226,000 Charles Whittingham S. (G2). Just being the controlling speed sufficed.

Setting a more relaxed pace than he had over shorter distances in his two most recent starts, Beyond Brilliant had plenty left to fend off a pesky Masteroffoxhounds to win the 10-furlong grass test by 1 1/4 lengths under Victor Espinoza. Masteroffoxhounds edged Gold Phoenix for second by a half-length.

Owned by C R K Stable and trained trained by John Shirreffs, Beyond Brilliant covered the course in 1:58.72 on firm ground and paid $5 as the 3-2 favorite.

This was the second stakes win for the four-year-old colt, who upset the Hollywood Derby (G1) at Del Mar last November in tactically-similar fashion as a 10-1 chance. That effort was book-ended by a third in the Twilight Derby (G2) and a second-place effort in the Mathis Mile (G3) that was taken off the turf.

In his season debut on March 5, Beyond Brilliant led until the final furlong in the Frank E. Kilroe Mile (G1), weakening to fourth at the finish. His record now stands at 12-4-3-2, $586,280.

Bred in Kentucky by Fred Hertrich III, John Fielding, and Robert Tribbett, Beyond Brilliant is by Twirling Candy and out of Summer On the Lawn, a First Defence half-sister to Grade 2 winner Summer Applause.

Kona Gold S. (G3)

Brickyard Ride toyed with three rivals in the $98,000 Kona Gold S. (G3), setting an uncontested pace and winning comfortably by 2 1/4 lengths as the 2-5 favorite in the 6 1/2-furlong dash.

Brickyard Ride and jockey Juan Hernandez make easy work of the Kona Gold Stakes (Photo by Benoit Photo)

Ridden by Juan Hernandez, Brickyard Ride sped in 1:15.07 and paid $2.80. Tigre Di Slugo finished second, with Strike That third and Miles Ahead a distant fourth.

The Kona Gold was the fourth stakes win of the year for Brickyard Ride, who races for his breeder Alfred “Sonny” Pais and is trained by Craig Lewis. His prior stakes wins this term all occurred against California-breds, in the California Cup Sprint, Tiznow S., and Sensational Star S.

A five-year-old son of Clubhouse Ride, Brickyard Ride has won seven stakes overall. His signature win came in the 2021 San Carlos (G2).

“We’re going race to race but our long-range plan is to be at Keeneland in November (for the Breeders’ Cup),” Lewis said. “He’s been showing so much versatility though, we don’t know if he should go in the Sprint (G1), the Turf Sprint (G1) or the (Dirt) Mile (G1). A lot of options, we just hope he stays as good as he is now.”