ARCADIA, CA – Trainer Peter Eurton’s Giant Expectations took the lead heading into the first turn and never looked back en route to upsetting Tuesday’s Grade 2, $300,000 San Antonio Stakes at Santa Anita.
Off well from post 2 under Gary Stevens, Giant Expectations held a 1 1/2-length lead over Prime Attraction through tepid fractions of :24.69, :49.19, and 1:12.94. As the field hit the top of the stretch, Accelerate and Collected each appeared to have a shot at the leader. The Hall of Fame jockey Stevens, however, simply loosened the reins and allowed Giant Expectations to take off, hitting the wire by 3 1/4 lengths in a final time of 1:43.07 for the 1 1/16-mile main track event.
“I didn’t expect (to go so slowly up front) at all,” Stevens said. “When we got that first 1/4 in :24 and change and the 1/2 in almost :50, the race was pretty much over with. This horse, he’s got a brilliant turn of foot the last 1/4 of a mile, and I got to sit on him til the 1/4-pole. It was a lot of fun.”
Accelerate beat the heavily-favored Collected by a neck for second after the latter ran a puzzling trip at the rear of the five-horse field for much of the race. It was a 1/2-length back to Hoppertunity in fourth, who was attempting to win the race for the third straight edition. Prime Attraction completed the order of finish. Top of the Game was scratched.
Unraced at 2 and winless in six attempts at 3, Giant Expectations has progressed immensely for trainer Peter Eurton in his 4-year-old season. After winning his first start of the year on May 29 at Belmont Park, the son of Frost Giant returned to California and won the Grade 2 Pat O’Brien Stakes at Del Mar. That victory earned him an all-fees-waived entry to the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, in which he placed sixth after finishing fifth in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Sprint Championship. The return to the winner’s circle was a solid bookend to a successful and rewarding 2017 for Eurton.
“He’s pretty special when he gets his trip,” Eurton said. “We’re going to sit down and discuss (plans for his next race and 2018). He does prefer shorter fields because then he has the opportunity to get into a place where he’s comfortable.”
Giant Expectations is owned by a partnership of Exline Border Racing, Gatto Racing, and Garrett Zubok. His career record now stands at 13-4-3-1 (7-4-1-0 in 2017) with earnings of $449,200 ($410,000 in 2017).
Giant Expectations returned $29 to win, $8.20 to place, and $3.20 to show. Accelerate brought back $7 to place and $2.80 to show, while Collected paid $2.10 to show.