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With Stevens at the Controls, Favored Om Takes G2, Mathis Brothers Mile

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ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 26, 2015)—Favored Om got a perfect tracking trip under Gary Stevens and registered a confident, 1 ¾ length win in Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 Mathis Brothers Mile (turf), as he negotiated a flat mile in 1:35.57.

With Acceptance, ridden by Alonso Quinonez showing the way into the Club House turn, the Dan Hendricks-conditioned Om, a Kentucky-bred colt by Munnings, sat second throughout, took command at the top of the lane and repelled the challenge of runnerup Perfectly Majestic the final furlong.

“The race set up perfectly for him,” said Hendricks.  “He’s got the natural speed to be placed wherever Gary wants.  We were either going to the front or going to sit second today, and it just worked out perfect.”

Off at 6-5 in a field of 11 three-year-olds, Om, who is owned by the Sareen Family Trust, paid $4.40, $3.00 and $2.60.  Third, beaten a half length as the 4-5 favorite in the Grade I Hollywood Derby at Del Mar Nov. 28, Om is now a perfect two for two at a mile on turf at Santa Anita and he improved his overall mark to 10-5-1-2.  With the winner’s share of $120,000, he improved his earnings to $550,500.

“He felt super today,” said Stevens, who has ridden him in his last starts, including victories in a pair of Grade II stakes, the Del Mar Derby on Sept. 6, and the Twilight Derby at Santa Anita on Oct. 24.  “We got beat by a good horse in his last out in the Hollywood Derby and it just wasn’t his day down there.

“Today, everything went perfect.  We were rolling into the turn, I got to slow it down and he got a nice breather.  He hit the after-burners at the eighth pole.  There was a horse coming to him and he still had something left and he gave it to me.

“The turf course here is superb.  Santa Anita has done a great job with it.”

Ridden by Kent Desormeaux, Perfectly Majestic rallied from far back for the place, finishing 4 ¾ lengths in front of Vigilante.  Off at 23-1, Perfectly Majestic paid $14.00 and $7.40.

Vigilante, who was ridden by Joe Talamo, was last after a half mile and rallied to overhaul pacesetting Acceptance by a half length for the show.  Off at 8-1, he paid $5.00.

The Mathis Brothers Mile, the second of four graded stakes on Santa Anita’s Opening Day, was carded as the sixth race on a nine-race program.

JOCKEY QUOTES

GARY STEVENS, OM, WINNER: “He felt super today, he’s been training great. We got beat by a good horse in his last out in the Hollywood Derby and it just wasn’t his day down there.

“Today, everything went perfect. We were rolling into the turn, I got to slow it down and he got a nice breather. He hit the after-burners at the eighth pole. There was a horse coming to him and he still had something left and he gave it to me.

“The turf course is superb here. Santa Anita has done a great job with it.”

MIKE SMITH, MISTER BRIGHTSIDE, SIXTH: “I was in a great spot (on the far turn), but I wasn’t there very comfortably. He was really, really pulling – too aggressive. That just hurt us. Instead of getting into a rhythm, I never really did.”

KENT DESORMEAUX, PERFECTLY MAJESTIC, SECOND: “That horse just ran an eye-catching race. He sat well, good situation at the quarter-pole; I was able to keep the paint and slide through to the leader. When I got out, he just exploded. I said, ‘I’m an easy winner.’ And Om, oh my God, he just took off. I couldn’t catch him, but it wasn’t for lack of effort from the little guy I rode. He just ran his eyeballs out.”

TRAINER QUOTES

DAN HENDRICKS, OM, WINNER: “The race set up perfectly for him. He’s got the natural speed to be placed wherever Gary wants. We were either going to the front or going to sit second today, and it just worked out perfect. Gary rode him perfectly, the horse ran perfectly and I did an OK job training him, so I’m happy with how it all turned out.

“He could run next in the Kilroe (Mile, Grade I, $400,000 on March 12) or a race before that (the Grade II Arcadia at one mile on turf Feb. 13). He’s a very lightly raced horse. He’s three years old, his joints are perfect, he’s sound, he’s happy and full of energy.”

K.B. SAREEN, OWNER: “I think Danny (Hendricks) has done a remarkable job with him. He’s a good horseman. Where he runs next depends on where Danny wants to go.”

NOTES: Winning owner K. B. Sareen of Las Vegas heads the Sareen Family Trust.

Source: Santa Anita Park

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