ARCADIA, CA – Red Baron’s Barn and Rancho Temescal’s Hariboux gamely outdueled the well-meant Smooth Like Strait in the stretch to champion Saturday’s $100,000 Pasadena Stakes at Santa Anita Park.
Breaking a step slowly from post 9 under Umberto Rispoli as the 3/1 second choice on the tote, Hariboux settled into stride while running toward the rear. Up front, the 8/5 favorite Smooth Like Strait set out to the lead, posting opening fractions of :22.59, :45.53, and 1:09.49 while Goliad ran glued to his right hip.
Given the green light heading into the far turn, Hariboux began picking off foes from all angles before tipping out to run three-wide at the top of the stretch. Shooting past a tiring Goliad with ease, Hariboux’s momentum carried him past Smooth Like Strait in mid-stretch before he drew off to win by 1 length.
Trained by Jeff Mullins, Hariboux completed the mile-long event over the firm turf course in a final time of 1:34.07.
“I watched film of thise horse before I rode him the last time (when he ran second in the Eddie Logan Stakes),” Rispoli said. “You could see that if you put him in the race, he will pull quite a bit. We decided he needs to be taken off the pace and it’s best for him. Today, I was 100% sure there was enough speed in the race, so Jeff said, ‘Okay, take him back.’ We were able to save ground, and coming around the last turn, a gap was open, so why go around?”
Though he fought gamely in the lane, Smooth Like Strait was forced to settle for second. Club Aspen edged a weakening Goliad for third by a 1/2-length, while Liar Liar rallied from last to take fifth.
Completing the order of finish came Last Opportunity, Governance, Rager, and Ra’ad.
Hariboux’s win was his first since taking an allowance event at Del Mar on November 14, a race in which he defeated Goliad by a neck. The British-bred 3-year-old gelded son of Havana Gold now carries a record of 10-5-2-1 with $134,931 earned.
“Umberto’s done a great job with him,” Mullins said. “He’s a very studious guy and he’s a strong finisher. He’s been able to take him back, drop the reins, and get him to relax very well. He showed a nice turn of foot today and he’s looking like he’s going to be a really nice horse.”
Hariboux returned $8.20 to win, $3.60 to place, and $3.20 to show. Smooth Like Strait brought back $3 to place and $2.80 to show, while Club Aspen paid $10.40 to show.