DEL MAR, CA – After having nowhere to run early in the stretch, Michael House’s Hunt got the hole he needed and exploded through to win the Grade 2, $250,000 Eddie Read Stakes Saturday at Del Mar.
Ridden by Flavien Prat and trained by Phil D’Amato, the 5-year-old colt earned his first career graded stakes win in a final time of 1:47.62 over a fast 1 1/8-mile turf course.
“I don’t know if this was my best ride today,” said Prat. “He had been training so well and I know how he can finish. I thought he’d run well here. I moved up inside and thought they’d leave a hole for me, but it wasn’t happening there for a bit. I had to wait, but when we saw it (the hole), he was there. He finished strong.”
Odds-on favorite Ashleyluvssugar was positioned just to the outside of Hunt nearly the entire race. With jockey Gary Stevens in the irons, Ashleyluvssugar made his move entering the stretch but couldn’t hang with Hunt, who erupted late in the stretch. Mr. Roary was a 1/2-length back in third, followed by Kenjisstorm, Up With the Birds, Wanstead Gardens, and Abbey Vale.
“The (lack of) distance might have had something to do with it, but I just think it was a little too long between dances,” said Stevens. “He ran well, and I thought I had the winner (Hunt) boxed up, but he got out. I had Santiago (Gonzalez on Mr. Roary) measured, but the winner got loose.”
Ashleyluvssugar’s previous start was the Grade 2 Charles Whittingham Stakes, which he won at Santa Anita in late May.
Hunt returned $8.60, $3.40, and $2.80. Ashleyluvssugar brought back $2.20 and $2.10, while Mr. Roary paid $5.40 to show.