ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) Wild Dude rallied in the stretch to beat Kobe’s Back by a neck in the $300,000 Santa Anita Sprint Championship on Saturday.
Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, Wild Dude ran six furlongs in 1:09.45 and paid $6.20, $3.80 and $3.20 as the 3-1 second choice. The 5-year-old Florida-bred is likely headed to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Keeneland on Oct. 31.
Kobe’s Back returned $6 and $4.60, while 26-1 shot Glacken Too was another 4 1/4 lengths back in third and paid $7.40 to show.
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”Tough beat,” said Gary Stevens, who rode Kobe’s Back. ”The winner got the jump on me, but my horse was like Pac Man. He was eatin’ `em up late.”
The field was reduced to five after three horses were scratched, including early 3-1 second choice Gimme Da Lute.
Masochistic and Distinctiv Passion slugged it out through fast fractions on the front end, setting up the Grade 1 race for closers Wild Dude and Kobe’s Back.
”I let him relax and let him finish like he has won before,” Bejarano said. ”His style is to come from behind and make one run. He’s getting better and he’s been working great in the mornings.”
The victory, worth $180,000, increased Wild Dude’s career earnings to $954,887, with seven wins in 18 starts. Trained and co-owned by Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer, Wild Dude was coming off a second-place finish in the Grade 2 Pat O’Brien Stakes at Del Mar.
In the $100,000 Eddie D. Stakes, Stevens guided No Silent to a comeback victory by 1 3/4 lengths.
No Silent ran 6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course in 1:13.04 and paid $15.80, $7 and $4.40.
Melatonin returned $20.80 and $11.80 at 28-1 odds, while Jimmy Bouncer was disqualified for interference in the stretch and placed fourth. Toowindytohaulrox was moved up to third and paid $5 to show.
No Silent earned his first stakes victory in the Eddie D., named for retired Hall of Fame jockey Eddie Delahoussaye, who presented the trophy.
The victory, worth $60,000, increased No Silent’s career earnings to $389,877, with seven wins in 23 starts for trainer Gary Mandella.