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ARCADIA, CA – Fresh off a pair of impressive wins over the Santa Anita turf, the Richard Baltas-trained North County Guy heads Saturday’s $100,000 Crystal Water Stakes for older California-bred or sired horses at 1 mile on turf.
Named for the California-bred winner of the both the Santa Anita Handicap and Hollywood Gold Cup in 1977, the Crystal Water attracted a field of six and is part of the lucrative Golden State Series, which is sponsored by the CTBA and is for eligible California-bred or sired runners.
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A 6-year-old gelding by The Pamplemousse out of the Unusual Heat mare Warmth, North County Guy has earned lofty Beyer Speed figures of 97 in his last two races, a 2 1/4-length classified allowance win at 1 mile on turf March 7 and a gutty neck victory in the Cal Cup Turf Classic at 1 1/8 miles on turf 2 starts back on January 16 – a race in which he was 15 lengths off the lead after the first 1/2-mile.
Attentive to the pace in his classified allowance win, North County Guy can be expected to employ similar tactics in the Crystal Water with regular rider Mario Gutierrez back aboard.
Claimed for $20,000 21 starts back on August 22, 2018, North County Guy is owned by Nancy Messineo and Bruce Sands. With an overall mark of 29-7-7-5, he’s 6-1-3-1 at 1 mile on turf and has amassed earnings of $421,247.
North County Guy Holds On For Neck Victory In $200,000 Unusual Heat Turf Classic
In what ranks as one of best career efforts, trainer Craig Dollase’s Brandothebartender rallied to take the state-bred Sensational Star Stakes by 1 1/4 lengths on March 21, earning a solid 92 Beyer Speed figure.
An 8-year-old gelding by Tribal Rule, out of the Stravinsky mare Frysland, Brandothebartender has 2 wins and as many thirds from 7 tries at 1 mile on grass.
“This horse brings it every time,” said Dollase following the Sensational Star. “He’s 8 years old, but he doesn’t know it!”
Ridden to perfection in the Sensational Star by Umberto Rispoli, “Brando” will be making his third career start in the Crystal Water and be ridden by the Italian native for the fifth consecutive time on Saturday. Owned by Flawless Racing, Brian Flanagan and Michael Jarvis, Brandothebartender has five wins from 23 starts over the Santa Anita turf and is 42-7-6-15 overall with earnings of $608,364.
Brandothebartender Serves Up Victory In Sensational Star
Named for the multiple combat decorated World War II Medal of Honor winner, Desmond Doss battled back in game fashion in the Sensational Star but ended up third, beaten 1 1/2 lengths by Brandothebartender at odds of 3/1.
A 5-year-old Nick Alexander homebred horse by Grazen out of Malley Girl (by Malek), Desmond Doss will generate considerable interest due to the fact he’ll provide apprentice Emily Ellingwood with her first-ever stakes opportunity.
A 1-mile maiden turf winner in his second start on June 8, 2019, Desmond Doss, who is conditioned by Steve Miyadi, is 11-3-2-1 and will be seeking his first stakes win on Saturday.
Acclimate, Irish Heatwave, and Prodigal Son complete the field.
The Crystal Water opens Saturday’s 11-race card at Santa Anita Park, has a first post time of 1:00 PM Pacific, and shares the card with the Santa Margarita Stakes (G2)
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