ARCADIA, CA – Blame the Rider and jockey Mario Gutierrez had nothing to be sorry about after winning Saturday’s $100,000 Singletary Stakes at Santa Anita. After breaking his maiden last time out, this Kentucky-bred son of Jimmy Creed is now a stakes winner with his second consecutive victory.
All horses broke well from the gate with Blame the Rider and Afleet Ascent taking to the front for the early lead. The 7-5 favorite, La La Land meanwhile sat back at the rear waiting to make his move. The front-running pair of Blame the Rider and Afleet Ascent ran side by side for much of the race, setting early fractions of :22.88 and :46.52. La La Land and Move Over finally made a run at the leaders as they entered the second turn and ended up drawing alongside the pair of Afleet Ascent and Blame the Rider at the top of the stretch. The top four horses battled hard, four-wide down the stretch, with Blame the Rider much the best to get his nose down first. La La Land finished a solid second followed in quick succession by Move Over and Afleet Ascent.
Gutierrez said after the race, “This horse has always shown ability in the mornings. I guess you could say he’s a late developer. When [trainer Doug O’Neill] switched him to the grass last time, it helped him. Unfortunately today, I couldn’t make the lead because there was so much early pressure, but he was comfortable and he’s showing us the ability that we knew he had.”
Since moving to the turf, Blame the Rider, who is owned by Reddam Racing, is a perfect two for two.
Trainer Doug O’Neill seemed pleased with how Blame the Rider is maturing, saying, “We’ve liked him from day one, but even in the mornings, if you work him behind a slower horse, he’ll range up and won’t necessarily pass. He’s definitely maturing and [jockey Mario Gutierrez] knows him well. He put him in the race and that was what we needed.”
Blame the Rider returned $32.00 to win, $10.80 to place, and $6.40 to show. La La Land brought back $3.20 to place and $2.40 to show, while Move Over paid $4.60 to show.