ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 13, 2016)—A Kentucky Derby hopeful a year ago, 4-year-old Bolo proved himself a nationally prominent turf horse Saturday at Santa Anita, as he ran down heavily favored Obviously late to take the Grade II, $200,000 Arcadia Stakes by a neck under Flavien Prat. Trained by Carla Gaines and idle since July 4, Bolo negotiated one mile on turf in 1:33.09 and is now undefeated in three tries over the Santa Anita lawn.
A measured second, two lengths off the favorite past the half mile pole, Bolo got outside pressure from eventual third place finisher Om going to the far turn, shook him off turning for home and gradually wore down Obviously to win going away at the wire.
“I couldn’t watch at the end,” said Santa Anita Chairman Keith Brackpool, on behalf of the ownership of Golden Pegasus Racing, Inc., and Earle I. Mack, LLC. “I couldn’t watch, but it was unbelievable. Carla did just an incredible job, incredible. Her patience over a seven month period drives me crazy, but then in one day, it all comes together.”
Off at 7-1 in a field of five older horses, Bolo paid $17.40, $7.20 and $3.00. A Kentucky-bred colt by Temple City, he notched his fourth win from nine starts and with the winner’s share of $120,000, increased his earnings to $408,700.
“You have to be closer on the turf the way it’s playing, so it worked out well,” said Prat, who rode Bolo for the first time. “I knew the pace was already fast (set by Obviously; 22.70, 45.67, 1:09.13 and 1:20.99) but I had to get out and go (around the far turn) because Obviously was still in front of me. When I came up next to Obviously, he picked it back up…but I knew Bolo can get the distance and in the end, Obviously came back to us.”
Although all four of his career wins have come on turf, Brackpool left the door open for a possible return to dirt in the mile and a quarter $1 million Santa Anita Handicap on March 12.
“It seems like every other horse I hear about is being considered for Dubai,” he said. “So we’ve got lots of options.”
As for Gaines, she was obviously pleased with the way Bolo came back running off the bench.
“The horse had a terrific trip,” she said. “All I told Flavien was to let him break and find his place in the race. I felt he’d be sitting right behind the leaders and he would still have a kick home. That’s exactly what happened. I’m just so thrilled…Did I think he was going to get there? I’m not sure. I was screaming very loud.”
Irish-bred Obviously, one of America’s best turf milers dating back to 2012, was cutting back in distance from a mile and one eighth and appeared to have things his own way on the lead.
“He settled great and he ran really well,” said Mike Smith, who was aboard the 8-year-old for the first time in the Arcadia. “They went in (one) thirty three to beat us. That’s pretty impressive. I wouldn’t say the this track favors speed, but…He just got run down today.”
Off at 4-5, Obviously paid $3.00 and $2.10.
Om, who came off a rousing win here in the Grade II Mathis Brother Mile (turf) on Dec. 26, sat a comfortable third early with Gary Stevens and went after the top two going to the far turn, but proved third best. The second choice at 8-5, he paid $2.10 to show.
Source: Santa Anita Park