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French-bred Flamboyant Upsets Obviously in Thrilling Finish to Take G2, San Gabriel Stakes

©Benoit Photo

ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 2, 2015)—Timed to perfection by French native Brice Blanc, French-bred Flamboyant saved ground throughout and overhauled favored Obviously late to take Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 San Gabriel Stakes by a neck while getting 1 1/8 miles on the Santa Anita turf in 1:46.64.

Ridden by Joe Talamo, Irish-bred Obviously, one of America’s top rated milers for the past two years, ran too good to lose, as he was running comfortably on a lonely lead through splits of 23.26, 46.60, 1:10.27 and 1:34.36, but the added furlong appeared to do him in as he offered little resistance late.

“There was plenty of pace to run at today, which I think is great because he seems like once he settles down, he can finish up and really make a nice run,” said Blanc.  “He has a tremendous turn of foot when he uses it and I think he’s got a lot of back class.

“This was a tough bunch on paper, quite a few nice horses.  I think the mile and an eighth helped him and it didn’t help some of the others.”

French-bred Flamboyant (left) upsets Obviously late to take Grade II, $200,000 San Gabriel Stakes - Photo Credit: ©Benoit Photo

French-bred Flamboyant (left) upsets Obviously late to take Grade II, $200,000 San Gabriel Stakes – Photo Credit: ©Benoit Photo

Off at 46-1 in a field of 11 older horses, Flamboyant, who is conditioned by Paddy Gallagher and  had been winless in 10 starts since taking Santa Anita’s La Puente Stakes in his U.S. debut on April 19, 2014, paid $94.20, $33.40 and $13.80.

Owned by CHRB Chairman Chuck Winner and David Bienstock, Flamboyant, a 5-year-old gelding by the Sunday Silence stallion Peer Gynt, picked up his fourth win from 18 starts and with the winner’s take of $120,000, increased his earnings to $398,368.

“Early on, I was a little concerned because I thought he’d be up closer to the lead, but Brice knew what he was doing,” said Winner.  “Going into the far turn, I saw he was full of run and when he started moving I thought, ‘We got a shot.’  This all worked out because my wife is French, the horse is French and the jock is French.  It’s the French Connection!”

Idle since well beaten over soft turf in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Mile at Keeneland on Oct. 31, 8-year-old Obviously was off at 5-2 and paid $5.00 and $3.80.

“He was doing it so easily today, that was a tough loss,” said Talamo.  “I had a lot of horse turning for home.  That’s the slowest he’s been in a while, so I was glad he was able to relax.  It’s just a tough beat but he definitely handled the distance well.”

Brazilian-bred Bal a Bali, who got a good stalking trip in third positon for most of the race,  finished 2 ¼ lengths behind the favorite and paid $3.80 to show with Flavien Prat up.

Legendary broadcaster Brent Musburger, who called yesterday’s Rose Bowl on ESPN, presented the San Gabriel trophy.

There is a Pick Six carryover of $80,409 into Sunday at Santa Anita and it’s expected Sunday’s total Pick Six pool will exceed $500,000.  The main event on a nine-race card tomorrow is the Grade II, $200,000 Monrovia Stakes.



JOCKEY QUOTES

BRICE BLANC, FLAMBOYANT, WINNER: “I speak to him in French, it must work!

“He’s been working really, really well and I think he cares for this course as well. He ran really well for me last fall and he just didn’t get a chance to run during Del Mar, the race didn’t go; the patience has paid off, though. There was plenty of pace to run at today, which I think is great because he seems like once he settles down, he can finish up and really make a nice run. He has a tremendous turn of foot when he uses it and I think he’s got a lot of back class.

“This was a tough bunch on paper, quite a few nice horses. I think the mile and an eighth helped me and it didn’t help some of the others.”

JOE TALAMO, OBVIOUSLY, SECOND: “He was doing it so easily today, that was a tough loss. I had a lot of horse turning for home. That’s the slowest he’s been in a while so I was glad he was able to relax. It’s just a tough beat but he definitely handled the distance well.”

TRAINER QUOTES

PADDY GALLAGHER, FLAMBOYANT, WINNER: “Maybe Brice speaks the same language. (Flamboyant was bred in France and jockey Brice Blanc is from Lyon, France). We gelded the horse (April 25, 2015), but ever since Brice has ridden him, he’s done everything right, so whatever language he speaks, it must be working.”

DAVID BIENSTOCK, CO-OWNER, FLAMBOYANT, WINNER: “This is a great way to start the New Year. I told Chuck (Winner) we’re going to start the year with a winner and we did. When you could see him gaining incrementally, it was really exciting. Brice rode him great.”

CHUCK WINNER, CO-OWNER, FLAMBOYANT & CHAIRMAN, CHRB: “Early on I was a little concerned because I thought he’d be up closer to the lead, but Brice knew what he was doing. Going into the far turn, I saw he was full of run and when he started moving I thought, ‘We got a shot.’ This all worked out because my wife is French, the horse is French and the jock is French. It’s the French Connection!”

PHIL D’AMATO, OBVIOUSLY, SECOND, AND BIG JOHN B, EIGHTH: “He (Obviously) got beat by a neck, but he ran a great race. He just got outrun.”

NOTES: The winning owners are David Bienstock and Charles Winner of Los Angeles.

Source: Santa Anita Park

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