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ARCADIA, CA – Though he never had a moment to breathe, Fashionably Fast proved to be too tough for his four stakes-winning foes, holding on gamely to win Saturday’s $150,000 Donald Valpredo California Cup Sprint Stakes at Santa Anita Park.
Breaking from post 2 under Tiago Pereira as the 2/1 second choice, Fashionably Fast raced heads apart with the rail-breaking 8/5 favorite Baja Sur in the early going, with Oliver tracking from a close third. Together, they posted fractions of :21.75 and :44.72 through the far turn.
At the top of the stretch, Baja Sur began to give way as Lieutenant Dan surged up to meet Fashionably Fast’s throat latch. Battling back and forth the length of the stretch, the two seemed inseparable until Fashionably Fast inched forward in the shadow of the wire to claim victory. The Dean Pederson trainee finished a neck in front in a final time of 1:09.60 for the 6-furlong sprint over the fast main track.
“Our plan was to stay just behind the one horse, and then push on the outside when we came for home,” Pereira said. “I switched the whip in the stretch, and when (Lieutenant Dan) came outside of us, he really responded. I worked this horse the other day and he worked very fast. I love this horse.”
Lieutenant Dan finished 2 1/4 lengths ahead of Brandothebartender, who headed Oliver for third. Baja Sur weakened to fifth to complete the order of finish. Heck Yeah scratched in favor of re-entering a race on a later date, while League of Shadows was a post-time vet scratch.
Fashionably Fast’s win was his fifth straight, including the last three at the state-bred stakes level, to improve his record to 15-6-3-2. The 5-year-old gelded son of Lucky Pulpit has now earned $389,745 for co-owners Harris Farms (who also bred him), Per Antonsen, and John Nicoletti.
“I left it up to Tiago,” Pederson said. “I told him not to concede enough to Baja Sur and keep the pressure on him. I don’t know if that is his ideal running style, but you gotta ride to win. That was the gameplan we had come up with. The horse has done so much for us, how can you be disappointed in anything he does? You can’t train for better owners.”
Fashionably Fast returned $6.20 to win, $3 to place, and $2.60 to show. Lieutenant Dan brought back $3.20 to place and $2.80 to show, while Brandothebartender paid $3.80 to show.
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