ARCADIA, CA – Nick Alexander’s homebred Pee Wee Reese found the perfect seam along the inside and shot away like a home run to win Friday’s $200,000 Eddie D Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita Park.
Exiting post 2 under Flavien Prat as the 5/2 second choice on the tote, Pee Wee Reese broke in slightly but soon settled into an inside stalking position while Boa Nova hustled to secure early command. As the field rounded the far turn, Pee Wee Reese remained patiently covered as several foes launched bids to his outside.
At the top of the stretch, a hole along the rail opened, and Prat shot Pee Wee Reese through instantly. Streaking away under mostly a strong hand ride, the Phil D’Amato trainee withstood a late surge from fellow California-bred Eddie Haskell to win by a 1/2-length. Pee Wee Reese completed the 5-furlong turf sprint in a final time of :55.33, only 0.27 seconds off of the track record of :55.06 that Eddie Haskell set earlier this year.
“We had a good trip,” Prat said. “He broke well and there were two horses that were off quicker than us, so we sort of sat in behind them. When we had the opening in the stretch, he gave me a good kick.”
Sent from the rail as the 9/5 post-time favorite, Eddie Haskell had to pull up midway down the backside after being pinched and launched a rally down the middle of the front stretch that just ran out of time.
“He tried really hard, just got beat by another fast horse,” said jockey Joel Rosario. “Second best, but he pulled his own.”
Two-time defending Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) champion Stormy Liberal was stuck between horses and couldn’t break free in time to do any better than third, beaten 1 3/4 lengths, with Double Touch was just a head behind him. Tribalist, Lombo, a weakened Boa Nova, and a spent Mr Vargas completed the order of finish.
Pee Wee Reese’s win was his second in as many starts this year, having won the state-bred Sensational Star Stakes here in March. The 6-year-old son of Tribal Rule improved his record to 15-8-2-1 with $532,901 earned and will aim for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint when it arrives to Santa Anita Park in early November.
“Flavien had it in mind to stay at the back, so I told him to play the break,” D’Amato said. “To go suicidal (early) is never a good thing, so I just told him to do what he thought was best. He got him in a nice spot in the pocket, found a hole there at the top of the lane, and exploded through.”
Pee Wee Reese returned $7 to win, $3.80 to place, and $2.80 to show. Eddie Haskell brought back $3 to place and $2.20 to show, while Stormy Liberal paid $3.40 to show.