ARCADIA, CA – Trainer William Morey’s Rye sat off the pace until just the right moment, overpowering his foes in the final jump to just get up in time for Saturday’s $200,000 Unusual Heat Turf Classic Stakes at Santa Anita.
Breaking from post 6 under Kent Desormeaux, Rye settled in mid-pack while Tule Fog and Summersimage battled through early splits of :23.44, :46.87, and 1:11.63. Running a crowded four-wide into the far turn, Desormeaux waited until he saw space open up, including careful handling near Camino Del Paraiso, who clipped heels and nearly fell in the middle of the turn. Once he did, Rye rallied hard to get up at the last possible second and win by a head in a final time of 1:48.01 for the 1 1/8-mile turf event.
“It was very eventful,” Desormeaux said. “The horse in front of me almost fell at the 3/8 pole. I was enjoying the ride. I felt like I couldn’t lose. This little guy had to show some guts and determination. He gave it his all.”
Camino Del Paraiso took second in the photo finish, a head past Accountability. Another 3/4 of a length back, He Will took fourth ahead of The Big Train and Brandothebartender, with Smokey Image, Tule Fog, and Summersimage completing the order of finish.
The win was Rye’s first stakes score and improved his career record to 16-8-0-4 with earnings of $307,199. The 5-year-old son of English Channel also gave Morey his ninth win in 14 starts during the current Santa Anita meet, a 64% clip for the northern California-based conditioner.
“This is my biggest win purse money-wise,” Morey said. “It’s amazing, but I’m at a little advantage where I can pick and choose and only bring my best horses here (from the Bay Area). You still have to have a lot of luck to have a streak like this. We had pointed to this race for six months, so now we have to regroup (for the next race).”
Rye returned $6 to win, $3.60 to place, and $2.80 to show. Camino Del Paraiso brought back $4.60 to place and $3.60 to show, while Accountability paid $8.80 to show.