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North County Guy Holds On For Neck Victory In $200,000 Unusual Heat Turf Classic
Credit: Benoit Photo

North County Guy Holds On For Neck Victory In $200,000 Unusual Heat Turf Classic

ARCADIA, CA – Content to sit well off the early pace, North County Guy wheeled four-wide at the top of the stretch en route to a hard-earned neck victory in Saturday’s $200,000 Unusual Heat Turf Classic at Santa Anita. Trained by Richard Baltas and ridden by Mario Gutierrez, North County Guy, a 6-year-old gelding by The Pampelmousse, got a mile and 1/8 in 1:46.34.

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Presented by City National Bank, the Unusual Heat Turf Classic is part of the CTBA’s lucrative Golden State Series for eligible California-bred or sired horses.

With 70-1 longshot Cono winging on an uncontested early lead, North County Guy was a distant fifth, about 20 lengths off the lead with a half mile to run. As Cono stopped mid-way around the far turn, the entire field moved into contention, with North County Guy about three lengths off the lead at the top of the lane.

With favored Acclimate and Tyler Baze hitting the front at the quarter pole, North County Guy had about two lengths to make up with a furlong to run and he was equal to the challenge and then held off the late charge of longshot Heck Yeah.

A second condition allowance winner at today’s distance two starts back on Oct. 9, North County Guy was well beaten in the Grade II Hollywood Turf Cup at a mile and one half Nov. 27. Off at 4-1 in a field of 11, North County Guy paid $10.40, $6.40 and $4.00.

Owned by Nancy Messineo and Bruce Sands, North County Guy, who is out of the Unusual Heat mare Warmth, notched his first stakes win and improved his overall mark to 28-6-7-5. With the winner’s share of $110,000, he increased his earnings to $366,647.

Heck Yeah, a three-time stakes winner at age three who seemed to have found new life on synthetic Tapeta with Golden Gate Fields-based trainer Steve Sherman, rallied to boldly to miss by a diminishing neck under Drayden Van Dyke. Off at 21-1, he paid $17.40 and $8.40.

Acclimate, the 9-5 favorite, paid $3.20 to show while finishing a half length in front of Ward ’n Jerry.

Fractions on the race were 22.31, 44.76, 1:09.18 and 1:34.36.

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