Wound Tight dominant in winning Unusual Heat Turf Classic at Santa Anita

ARCADIA — Wound Tight, bet down from 5-1 on the morning line to the 3-1 third choice in the wagering, took the eight-horse field gate to wire, easily winning the $200,000 Unusual Heat Turf Classic by 3 1/2 lengths on a Saturday afternoon when Santa Anita carded five stakes restricted to California-breds.

The 5-year-old gelding by Coil, one of only two horses in the field to have won at the race’s 1 1/8-mile distance, finished in 1:48.24 after carving out easy fractions of 23.39, 48.62 and 1:13.

Coming in off a nose victory in a $40,000 optional claimer at Del Mar on Dec. 1, Wound Tight, ridden by Abel Cedillo and trained by Bob Hess Jr., won for the fourth time in 10 starts.

Ward ‘n Jerry, the 2-1 favorite, finished second, a half-length in front of 34-1 longshot Cono. Ashleyluvssugar, a 9-year-old gelding whose career is winding down, finished fourth at 7-2 in the eight-horse field.

“This horse is very strong on the lead,” Cedillo said. “There was no pace, so he was tough on the lead. He never got tired. We came back in front of the grandstand and he still wanted to run.”

The 58-year-old Gerardo Morales, Hess’ assistant who’s been with the barn for 35 years, said he was a bit concerned about the distance.

“But he definitely got the job done. I’m really happy with him,” said Morales, who saddled the winner because Hess was in Florida. “When I saw the fractions, I said, ‘We have a big chance.’ When they turned for home I knew it was all over.”

Fatality in opener 

Uncontainable, a 5-year-old daughter of Acclamation who made 11 starts in her career, broke her right front ankle in the stretch of Saturday’s first race and had to be euthanized, the second fatality in two days at Santa Anita and third racing death of the meeting.

Trained by Peter Miller, Uncontainable won three of her 11 races for earnings of $24,390.On Friday, the Val Brinkerhoff-trained Harliss, seventh in the eight-horse field in the final race of the day, was unsaddled and vanned off. He later had to be euthanized.

A necropsy will be performed on the two horses, as required by the California Horse Racing Board.

Veteran rider delivers 

Agapito Delgadillo, a 53-year-old native of Mexico City, doesn’t get many chances to ride in $150,000 stakes races, but he was aboard the winner of the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf Sprint.

Stealthediamonds, the 3-1 second choice, broke on top in the six-horse field and never looked back, holding off 1-2 favorite Just Grazed Me to win by a half-length in 1:01.61 for the 5 1/2 furlongs over a firm grass course.

Win streak continues 

Fashionably Fast made it five consecutive victories by winning the $150,000 California Cup Sprint by a neck over Lieutenant Dan, running the 6 furlongs in 1:09.60 over a fast main track as the 2-1 second choice.

Ridden by Tiago Pereira, the Dean Pederson-trained Fashionably Fast, a 5-year-old gelding by Lucky Pulpit, won for the sixth time in 15 races. Demonstrating his gameness, he’s won four of the six by three-quarters of a length or less.

It’s Showtime 

Warren’s Showtime came charging home from fifth to win the $200,000 California Cup Oaks by 3 1/2 lengths under Jorge Velez for trainer Craig Lewis.

Sent postward at 4-1, the 3-year-old daughter of Clubhouse Ride ran the 1 mile on the turf in 1:36.50. The 3-1 favorite, Been Studying Her, finished 11th in the 12-horse field.

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Roy H keeps rolling with Palos Verdes Stakes win at Santa Anita

  • Hronis Racing’s Accelerate and jockey Victor Espinoza, right, outrun the field to win the Grade II, $200,000 San Pasqual Stakes at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia Calif., Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018. (Benoit Photo via AP)

    Hronis Racing’s Accelerate and jockey Victor Espinoza, right, outrun the field to win the Grade II, $200,000 San Pasqual Stakes at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia Calif., Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018. (Benoit Photo via AP)

  • Lombo and jockey Flavien Prat win the Grade III, $150,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes, Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia Calif. (Benot Photo via AP)

    Lombo and jockey Flavien Prat win the Grade III, $150,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes, Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia Calif. (Benot Photo via AP)

  • Lombo and jockey Flavien Prat win the Grade III, $150,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes, Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia Calif. (Benoit Photo via AP)

    Lombo and jockey Flavien Prat win the Grade III, $150,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes, Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia Calif. (Benoit Photo via AP)

  • Roy H and jockey Kent Desormeaux, right, outleg Red Lightning (Tyler Conner), and Americanize, second from left, in the Grade II, $200,000 Palos Verdes Stakes at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018. (Benoit Photo via AP)

    Roy H and jockey Kent Desormeaux, right, outleg Red Lightning (Tyler Conner), and Americanize, second from left, in the Grade II, $200,000 Palos Verdes Stakes at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018. (Benoit Photo via AP)

  • Jockey Tyler Baze guides Itsinthepost to the winner’s circle after their victory in the Grade II, $200,000 San Marcos Stakes at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018. (Benoit Photo via AP)

    Jockey Tyler Baze guides Itsinthepost to the winner’s circle after their victory in the Grade II, $200,000 San Marcos Stakes at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018. (Benoit Photo via AP)

  • Red Baron’s Barn’s Itsinthepost and jockey Tyler Baze, right, nose out Hayabusa One (Victor Espinoza), left, to win the Grade II, $200,000 San Marcos Stakes at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia Calif., Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018. (Benoit Photo via AP)

    Red Baron’s Barn’s Itsinthepost and jockey Tyler Baze, right, nose out Hayabusa One (Victor Espinoza), left, to win the Grade II, $200,000 San Marcos Stakes at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia Calif., Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018. (Benoit Photo via AP)

  • Jockey Victor Espinoza guides Accelerate to the winner’s circle after their victory in the Grade II, $200,000 San Pasqual Stakes at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia Calif., Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018. (Benoit Photo via AP)

    Jockey Victor Espinoza guides Accelerate to the winner’s circle after their victory in the Grade II, $200,000 San Pasqual Stakes at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia Calif., Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018. (Benoit Photo via AP)

  • In a photo provided by Benoit Photo, Lombo and jockey Flavien Prat win the Grade III, $150,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes horse race Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018, at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif. (Benoit Photo via AP)

    In a photo provided by Benoit Photo, Lombo and jockey Flavien Prat win the Grade III, $150,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes horse race Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018, at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif. (Benoit Photo via AP)

  • In a photo provided by Benoit Photo, Lombo, right, with jockey Flavien Prat, outlegs Ayacara, left, with Kent Desormeaux, to win the Grade III, $150,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes horse race Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018, at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif. (Benoit Photo via AP)

    In a photo provided by Benoit Photo, Lombo, right, with jockey Flavien Prat, outlegs Ayacara, left, with Kent Desormeaux, to win the Grade III, $150,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes horse race Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018, at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif. (Benoit Photo via AP)

  • Roy H and jockey Kent Desormeaux win the Grade II $200,000 Palos Verdes Stakes on Saturday at Santa Anita Park. (Benoit Photo via AP)

    Roy H and jockey Kent Desormeaux win the Grade II $200,000 Palos Verdes Stakes on Saturday at Santa Anita Park. (Benoit Photo via AP)

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ARCADIA — Roy H made a triumphant return to the races, Accelerate showed again that he’s one of the top older horses in Southern California and Peace disappointed big time in his 3-year-old debut Saturday during a big stakes day at Santa Anita.

Not to be outdone, Itsinthepost continued his run as one of the most consistent turf runners on the grounds during a nine-race program highlighted by three $200,000 Grade II stakes and a $150,000 Grade III event that annually serves as a springboard to the Santa Anita Derby.

Roy H, making his 6-year-old debut after a one-length victory in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Del Mar on Nov. 4, toyed with his three rivals in the Palos Verdes Stakes for older sprinters. He won under Kent Desormeaux by 3½ lengths as the 1-5 favorite, completing the six furlongs in 1:09.68 as Americanize, Red Lightning and Mongolian Saturday completed the order of finish.

“He’s a super horse,” Desormeaux said of Roy H. “I wanna say he’s the best sprinter I’ve ever ridden.”

Roy H, a gelded son of More Than Ready, has won three consecutive races and six of his past seven while putting a huge smile on the face of trainer Peter Miller.

“The horse has been a model of consistency,” he said. “I don’t think I’ve ever had a horse put in seven top races in a row like he has against top quality horses. He’s certainly the best sprinter I’ve ever trained.”

Miller said the $400,000 Grade I Triple Bend Stakes on March 10 at Santa Anita will probably be next for Roy H, followed by the Golden Shaheen in Dubai on March 31.

In the afternoon’s other three stakes:

• Accelerate overcame much trouble to win the San Pasqual Stakes, a major prep for the March 10 Santa Anita Handicap. Jockey Victor Espinoza said the 5-year-old son of Lookin At Lucky bounced off the rail a couple of times before he found room on the inside to prevail by 1¾ lengths, running the 1-1/8 miles in 1:50.58.

Prime Attraction finished second, 2½ lengths in front of Mubtaahij. Pavel, the 2-1 favorite finished fourth.

“He got bumped around a little bit, but this horse showed a lot of guts today,” said Juan Leyva, trainer John Sadler’s assistant. “He’s obviously a really nice horse and he showed it today.”

Accelerate has now won five of 16 lifetime races after scoring his first victory at Santa Anita in nine tries. He’d finished second three times and third on four occasions before Saturday.

• Peace, the 2-1 favorite, did not enjoy the added blinkers while finishing fifth in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes as 8-1 shot Lombo went gate to wire to win by two lengths under Flavien Prat.

“I thought the blinkers would wake him up, but it backfired on us big time,” jockey Mike Smith said. “I feel bad because it was my idea … I thought let’s just put a set of blinkers on him to make him concentrate. And he did, in the morning.

“I thought he’d pull me right up there with them today, but every chance he got he tried to pull up. I mean, he felt great, wasn’t even blowing at the end. I’m the only tired one.”

Lombo ran the 1-1/16 miles in 1:45.41 while making his stakes debut after a 3½-length maiden victory on Jan. 20 at Santa Anita.

“He’s starting to figure it out,” trainer Mike Pender said. “When he does really figure it out, I think he’ll be really dangerous.”

• Tyler Baze was full of superlatives after 4-5 favorite Itsinthepost held off 14-1 longshot Hayabusa One by a nose to win the San Marcos Stakes for older horses on the turf, completing the 1¼-mile distance in 1:58.24.

“He’s a really special horse,” Baze said. “He’s going to get a bag full of apples in the morning, that’s for sure.”

Itsinthepost, a 6-year-old gelded son of American Post, won for the eighth time in 32 starts, scoring the fourth Grade I victory of his career following a 1½-length win in the Grade II San Gabriel Stakes on Jan. 6 at Santa Anita.

Owner Jed Cohen was succinct when asked if he thought his horse had won when they hit the wire.

“I didn’t, but everybody else did,” he said.

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