ARCADIA, CA – A day after Christmas, Gift Box unwrapped an impressive late run in Wednesday’s Grade 2, $300,000 San Antonio Stakes at Santa Anita. Gift Box, a five-year-old son of Twirling Candy, picked up his second consecutive win and first career graded stakes victory.
Pitino shot to the front and was followed closely by the pair of Dabster and Battle of Midway. Pitino held on for the first 1/2 mile and then quickly faded to the back. Gift Box sat a length back of Dabster and Battle of Midway and watched them duel it out on the front and slowly moved up to join them as they came around the second turn. As they hit the top of the stretch, it was a three-horse race between Gift Box, Dabster, and Battle of Midway. Gift Box was best and finished 1/2-lengths ahead of Battle of Midway. Dabster finished third and Beach View got up for fourth.
“He ran really good,” said jockey Joel Rosario of Gift Box. “Every time when the horses were coming up from behind him, he was pushing and wanted to keep going. So, I thought that was pretty good. He got some good headway and when he was heading for home, he kind of took the lead, then fell back a little bit and regained it. He just needed someone to push him a little bit.”
“Hopefully this horse will be in the handicap division this year and we’re not opposed to going to Dubai with him,” said trainer John Sadler. “He’s close to my heart. He’s from the first crop of Twirling Candy so I’ve been watching him for a couple of years. He’s trained really well for this race and he’s had a bunch of bullets. He ran like he trained.”
Gift Box returned $15.00 to win, $6.20 to place, and $3.60 to show. Battle of Midway brought back $3.00 to place and $2.20 to show, while Dabster paid $2.40 to show. Santa Anita’s new Roulette wager paid $8.60.