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ARCADIA, CA – Denman’s Call won the Grade 1, $400,690 Triple Bend Stakes by a length in an upset over 1-2 favorite Masochistic. Conquest Cobra, Silent Bird, Kobe’s Back, Point Piper, and Nowalking completed the order.
Ridden by Tyler Baze, Denman’s Call ran seven furlongs in 1:20.94.
Masochistic won the race two years ago. He was making his first start since finishing second in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint last November and later being disqualified from the $255,000 purse money for testing positive for a steroid.
Denman’s Call returned $35.40, $8.60, and $4.80. Masochistic brought back $2.60 and $2.10, while Conquest Cobra paid $5.80 to show.
Winning jockey Tyler Baze aboard Denman’s Call: “It was a beautiful trip. I talked to Doug before the race, and we were saying that we hoped (Conquest Cobra) would go with Masochistic a little bit and give him just a little company the first part of the race. I really believe in this horse. Last time I was on him, he was so unfortunate to lose his hind end leaving the gate.
“I was very fortunate to get back on this horse, and I really believe in him. He’s something special. He just went where I pointed him today. There wasn’t a whole lot of room down there on the rail, but that was my only option at the time. When I said ‘let’s go,’ he went. That length off the rail was really there the whole race. It started getting tighter and tighter, and I said ‘If I don’t go now, I might be stuck in a bad situation.’ I pulled the trigger, and he answered.”
Jockey Mike Smith aboard second-place finisher Masochistic: “I made a mistake, staying off the rail a bit too much. I thought I was on it pretty good, but old Tyler was stuck right in my blind spot. I thought I felt somebody back there, but I could swear it was to my outside. I looked over to my right, then looked back and he was inside. It was a great move on his part, and not so good on mine. In saying that, my horse ran well. He got a little tired, but I certainly didn’t need to let him through.”
Trainer Doug O’Neill, Denman’s Call: “(Denman’s Call) was so impressive today. To see a champ like Masochistic up there on the lead, and to go the first quarter like that…
“He was sitting on a good race, you just never know where the class is. I always think of the paddock like a pasture when you kick four or five new horses out there; within seconds, you have a pecking order. If they lose in the paddock, you usually know you’re in trouble. He handled himself like he was a leader down there the whole time today. That definitely tipped me off that he was going to run the way he’s been training.
“We dreamt about this, but none of us would have thought it was possible to do what he just did. That was pretty incredible.
“I was going to run in an allowance, but it didn’t fill. Such a wacky game. Thankfully, the allowance race didn’t go, and here we are. It’s incredible.
“For him, I don’t know. We were just talking about what an unbelievable opportunity and a dream it would be to have him for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint down at Del Mar this year. That’ll probably be a dream goal. We’ll talk to the owners and put our heads together, but we’re going to enjoy the heck out of this.”
Steve Rothblum, Team O’Neill, Denman’s Call: “He got a really good trip. We were a little worried about him being down on the fence, but if you saw his last race, where he bobbled at the break and fell down behind, he stood up leaving there today, and we’ve always kind of known he’s got this much promise.
“After his last race, he came back doing so well. He worked 58 and change just on his own and he came into this race well. I thought they went so fast early that he was tracking close enough. I thought he had a huge shot. It’s just great to see when they turn for home. Tyler rode him brilliantly. It was great for all of us.”
Trainer Ronald Ellis, Masochistic: “He got a little bit tired. He hasn’t ran in about three and a half months or so. He ran a really good race and just got a little tired. It’s a tough distance for a speed horse to go wire-to-wire off a layoff. I think everything went great. He got pushed just a little bit, that second quarter was a pretty quick second quarter, and I think that it caught up with him in the end. If we would’ve been able to get a race into him in January, that would’ve helped us a lot, but it was raining and it didn’t work out. It wasn’t a disgraceful race by any means.”
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