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ARCADIA, CA – Celebrated by racing fans nationwide, racing returned to Santa Anita’s Camino Real hillside turf course on Friday as California-bred Lieutenant Dan pressed the pace and took control turning for home en route to a 1/2-length victory.
The Eddie D returned to being held over Santa Anita’s 6 1/2-furlong downhill turf course for the first time since 2018.
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Owned and bred by Nick Alexander, Lieutenant Dan sat a close third early to pacesetter Charmaine’s Mia, who was pressed to her immediate outside by Law Abidin Citizen.
Hand-ridden over the dirt crossing at the top of the stretch, Lieutenant Dan cruised to the lead and was never seriously challenged through the lane.
Ridden by Geovanni Franco, Lieutenant Dan got the about 6 1/2 furlongs down the hill in 1:11.74.
“He’s a pretty fast horse and he’s very versatile,” Franco said. “He broke sharp like he always does and put me in a nice spot where if they were going too slow, I could have gone, and if they were going too fast, I could have sat back. … It was a great feeling to ride the hill again; it is definitely different than any other race or surface. You have a lot of fun out there, especially when you have a horse like this one.”
Off as the 5/2 favorite in a field of nine three-year-olds and up, Lieutenant Dan, who notched his third consecutive victory following the Green Flash Handicap (G3), paid $7, $3.80, and $3.20.
Highly accomplished Snapper Sinclair, who shipped in from Churchill Downs for Steve Asmussen, kept to his task from off the pace and finished second in a solid effort, finishing a neck in front of the Bob Hess Jr.-trained Chaos Theory. Off as the 7/2 second choice, he paid $4.40 and $3.20.
Ridden by Kent Desormeaux, Chaos Theory was off at 36/1 and paid $10.80 to show while finishing a 1/2-length better than a late-closing Gregorian Chant.
Fractions on the race were 21.61, 42.95, and 1:05.66.
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