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ARCADIA, CA – Trainer Peter Miller’s Irish-bred Ebeko made his second North American start a winning one with a game nose victory in Sunday’s $100,00 Zuma Beach Stakes at Santa Anita Park.
Ebeko broke from post 5 under Ricky Gonzalez at 3/1 odds and settled three-wide in the clear heading into the clubhouse turn.
Ingest set the pace while under a tight hold, posting opening fractions of :23.66 and :48.42 while Tarantino and Ebeko gave closest watch.
Tarantino and Ebeko ranged up along with Cotopaxi and turned the finish into an all-out sprint to the wire.
Though Cotopaxi was the first to lead, Tarantino poked his nose in front near the 1/16 pole, but Ebeko found his best strides in the shadow of the wire and surged forward to complete the firm turf mile in 1:36.55.
“This is a very nice colt; he gives you his all,” Gonzalez said. “The first time, we were in the 10 hole, so we just kind of made one run and he had just come from Europe. It’s different now that he’s been here. He puts himself in the race and finished really strong.”
Tarantino was 3/4 of a length ahead of Cotopaxi, himself a neck in front of Caisson.
The 2/1 favorite Big Fish flattened out when the real running began and could only finish fifth, ahead of Ingest and Dennis Celery.
Ebeko’s win improved his record to 5-2-2-0 with $106,430 earned for co-owners Altamira Racing Stable, CYBT, Marc Lantzman, and Michael Nentwig. Miller said that the Irish-bred son of Awtaad will likely head to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1).
“We’ve been on an incredible run,” Miller said after winning his meet-leading fifth stakes. “Everything is falling into place right now. I thought Ricky rode an incredible race. We knew this horse was doing well and Ricky saw that the pace was pretty slow, so he had him closer today.”
Ebeko returned $8.80 to win, $4.80 to place, and $3.40 to show. Tarantino brought back $4.80 to place and $4 to show, while Cotopaxi paid $4.20 to show.
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