ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 26, 2015)—With speedy Rocket Heat showing the way through uncontested fractions of 21.99, 44.18 and 1:07.74, it appeared he was headed to a front-running victory in Saturday’s Grade III, $100,000 Daytona Stakes, but Toowindytohaulrox collared him 40 yards from the finish and was up to win by a neck under Tiago Pereira, covering 6 ½ furlongs down Santa Anita’s hillside turf in 1:14.26.
Off at 21-1, Toowindytohaulrox, a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred colt by Harlan’s Holiday, paid $44.60, $19.20 and $9.40. Owned by Queen Bee Racing, LLC, he was most recently third, beaten 2 ½ lengths, in the Grade II, 1 1/16 miles turf Seabiscuit Handicap at Del Mar Nov. 27.
“This horse is great down the hill,” said Pereira. “Having him in an outside post is best for him. When he is outside of horses, he’s at his best. When he’s on the inside, not always. He was free today and he made a big run.”
Toowindytohaulrox, who notched his second win from six starts down Santa Anita’s unique hillside layout, improved his overall record to 19-4-3-6. With the winner’s share of $60,000, he improved his earnings to $310,392.
“I wanted them to stay outside, ‘Toowindy’ especially,” said D’Amato, who also saddled runner-up Coastline. “Anytime he’s got to split horses, he just doesn’t like it as much. He likes to be running freely and Tiago bided his time back there, got him widest of all and came with a big run.”
Drawn on the extreme outside in post 14, fellow come-from-behinder Coastline, who was ridden by Tyler Baze, was up for the place, finishing another neck in front of Rocket Heat. Off at 52-1, Coastline paid $46.60 and $20.80.
Off at 41-1, Rocket Heat, who was ridden by Edwin Maldonado, prevailed by a head over The Great War and paid $16.20 to show.
With the 1-2-3 finishers off at odds of 21-1, 52-1 and 41-1, the trifecta paid $10,851.40. Fourth place finisher The Great War, off at 8-1, helped contribute to a superfecta payoff of $24,476.39.
The first of four graded stakes on a blockbuster Opening Day Card, the Daytona was run as the fourth on a nine-race program.
TIAGO PEREIRA, TOOWINDYTOHAULROX, WINNER: “This horse is great down the hill. Having him in an outside post is best for him. When he is outside of horses, he’s at his best. When he’s on the inside, not always. He was free today and he made a big run.”
TYLER BAZE, COASTLINE, SECOND: “I loved this horse today. I don’t care what the odds were
(52-1), he’s a really nice horse. He’s a super-good horse, and I rode him with a ton of confidence. I didn’t like that I had to stay wide the whole way, and he jumped at the dirt. He ran a great race, and I can’t wait to get him back in.”
PHIL D’AMATO, TOOWINDYTOHAULROX, WINNER, AND COASTLINE, SECOND: “I wanted them to stay outside, ‘Toowindy’ especially. He likes to be in the clear. Anytime he’s got to split horses, he doesn’t like it as much. He likes to be running freely and Tiago (Pereira) bided his time back there, got him widest of all and came with a big run.
“The Breeders’ Cup is a possibility. I know he likes this trip, and he’s just getting his confidence going. He’s getting better and better with every race.”
Asked if he thought this horse would catch the leader (Rocket Heat): “It was tight. My other horse ran a big race, too. Coastline got bumped out there, almost in the grandstand crossing the dirt, and he still came on strong and only lost by a nose. They both ran huge.”
GARY MANDELLA, NO SILENT, SEVENTH: “He was in a good spot. He wasn’t quite as good as he was the day that he won the Eddie D.; to be honest with you, probably not as good as he was in the Breeders’ Cup (Turf Sprint).
“Gary said he was a little anxious today. That’s kind of this horse’s weakness; sometimes mentally, he takes things hard. Even though he was in a perfect spot, he wasn’t happy there like he was the day he won the Eddie D. That kind of made the difference, because he only got beat two lengths. There was nothing terrible about it, but he wasn’t perfect and he needed to be to beat these kinds of horses.”
NOTES: The winning owner is Rebecca Wanta of Las Vegas who campaigns as Queen Bee Racing, LLC.
Source: Santa Anita Park