ARCADIA, Calif. (July 4, 2016)—Red hot California-based stallion Square Eddie struck again in Monday’s $100,000 Thor’s Echo Handicap at Santa Anita, as Reddam Racing’s homebred Mrazek returned from a disappointing foray to New York to post a facile 1 ½ length win under Mario Gutierrez while covering six furlongs in 1:09.45.
Breaking from the far outside in a field of six Golden State Series eligible three year olds and up bred or sired in California, Mrazek sat comfortably behind a group of four dueling leaders before he swung four-wide turning for home in a visually impressive display of class as Gutierrez geared him down near the wire.
“He’s such an honest horse,” said O’Neill, who got his second win on the day. “Seven out of eight times now, he’s been first or second. His last race in New York (Grade II, seven furlong Woody Stephens Stakes at Belmont Park June 11), it was just a big field, he had a lot of traffic troubles and he just didn’t adjust…We were coming back in 22 days, but Mario didn’t overdo it with him in New York and that really helped.
“He didn’t break as well as we’d hoped but Mario did a great job riding and adjusting to that. I think sprints are what he’ll be great at moving forward. I don’t think Mrazek will be going two turns anytime soon, but we’ll huddle up with Paul and Zillah (Reddam) about it and put our heads together.”
Hammered to favoritism at 7-5, Mrazek, a 3-year-old chestnut colt by Square Eddie, out of the Wild Rush mare Heckuva Rush, paid $4.80, $3.40 and $2.60. His overall mark now stands at 8-3-4-0 and with the winner’s share of $60,000, he now has career earnings of $229,437.
Is there any chance that Square Eddie, who is also owned by Paul and Zillah Reddam and is considered by many to be California’s number one stallion, would relocate to Kentucky?
“Absolutely no chance of him ever moving,” said Paul Reddam.
Last, about four lengths off the lead with a quarter mile to run, longshot Love My Bud shot through an opening at the rail a furlong out and finished second, a half length in front of Nardo, who had been part of the early pace dispute.
Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, Love My Bud was off at 9-1 and paid $6.40 and $5.20.
Ridden by Flavien Prat, Nardo held third by three quarter of a length over Magic Mark. Off at 6-1, Nardo paid $4.00 to show.
Fractions on the race were 21.98, 45.07 and 57.13.
Live racing resumes at Santa Anita on Friday, with first post time at 1:30 p.m. Simulcast wagering will be offered on Thursday in the track’s Paddock Room. Admission gates open on Thursday at 10 a.m.
MARIO GUTIERREZ, RIDER, MRAZEK, WINNER: “He was very comfortable today. The post was good. I was able to save some ground around the turn, but he was full of run and I decided to swing wide at the top of the stretch. He was much the best.”
RAFAEL BEAJARANO, LOVE MY BUD, SECOND: “My horse broke beautifully from the gate, saved ground on the turn. Just tried to get him relaxed and make one run – the winner was much the best, but it was a good second.”
DOUG O’NEILL, MRAZEK, WINNER: “He’s just such an honest horse. Seven, out of eight times now, he’s been first or second. His last race in New York (Grade II, seven furlong, Woody Stephens Stakes at Belmont June 11) it was just a big field, he had a lot of traffic troubles and he just didn’t adjust. He came out of it, flew back home and we took a chance here. We were coming back in 22 days, but Mario didn’t overdo it with him in New York and that really helped.
“He didn’t break as well as we’d hoped but Mario did a great job riding and adjusting to that.
“I think sprints are what he’ll be great at moving forward. I don’t think Mrazek will be going two turns anytime soon, but we’ll huddle up with Paul and Zillah about it and put our heads together.”
PAUL REDDAM, OWNER/BREEDER, MRAZEK: “He bled a little in New York and that was kind of a crazy race with a lot of horses (12). Doug wouldn’t have run the horse today unless he was okay and he obviously was. It’s pretty exciting. He’s three and he should certainly be very tough in all those Cal-bred stakes.
ANY CHANCE OF SQUARE EDDIE BEING MOVED TO KENTUCKY? “Absolutely no chance of him ever moving.”
NOTES: Winning owners Paul and Zillah Reddam reside in Irvine, CA.
Santa Anita Park