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ARCADIA, CA – Trainer Dan Blacker’s Hit the Road didn’t look back once he took the stretch lead in Saturday’s $100,000 Thunder Road Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita Park.
Hit the Road broke from post 2 under Umberto Rispoli as the 3/1 second choice and kept close to the front-running pair of Sombeyay and Bob and Jackie, who posted quick opening fractions of :23.60, :46.80, and 1:10.18.
Looming three-wide in the far turn, Hit the Road ranged up to take command, then drew off to win by 3 3/4 lengths going away, completing the firm turf mile route in 1:33.35.
“I was on top of the race, and by the 5-furlong marker, he was already pulling hard and I could understand he was fresh,” Rispoli said while praising trainer Dan Blacker’s preparations. “He was so good today. At the top of the stretch, he had good acceleration and covered good ground.”
The 2/1 favorite Bob and Jackie saved second by a 1/2-length over Border Town, who rallied from a country mile off the pace to nose out Sombeyay for third.
Hembree and Campaign completed the order of finish.
Award Winner and Restrainedvengence were scratched.
Hit the Road’s win was his third straight (all with Rispoli aboard) and came in his first start back since last July’s Oceanside Stakes at Del Mar. The 4-year-old More Than Ready colt’s record now stands at 8-5-0-0 with $254,751 earned for co-owners D K Racing, Radley Equine, Taste of Victory Stables, Rick Gold, and Dave Odmark.
“He’s just a really special horse and I am so lucky to have him,” Blacker said. “More lucky to have owners that supported me. We’re lucky to have a horse like this. I said before the race, he was born a great horse. I’m just lucky to have him in my barn.”
Hit the Road returned $8.20 to win, $4.40 to place, and $3.40 to show. Bob and Jackie brought back $4 to place and $2.60 to show, while Border Town paid $4 to show.
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