ARCADIA, CA – Rye rode the rail to victory in Saturday’s $200,000 Unusual Heat Turf Classic Stakes Presented by City National Bank at Santa Anita. This was the first win for the 6-year-old son of English Channel since his win in this race a year ago.
King Abner was sent to the front early and held sole possession of the lead as they came around the first turn but the rest of field was not far behind. As they entered the backstretch, King Abner maintained his lead and put about two lengths between himself and the trio of The Street Fighter, Accountability, and Marckie’s Water while setting fractions of :24.01, :47.73, and 1:11.74. The 5-2 favorite, Ashleyluvssugar sat midpack and was joined by Rye. Marckie’s Water was the first to make a move as they approached the second turn but the rest of the field moved as well, reducing King Abner’s lead to less than 1/2 length by the top of the stretch. Ashleyluvssugar made a strong stretch run on the outside of King Abner but it was the impressive riding along the rail by jockey Kent Desormeaux aboard Rye that got the job done. Rye finished 2 1/4 lengths ahead of Ashleyluvssugar. Accountability got up for third and King Abner settled for fourth.
“He is one of my favorite horses to ride, and that’s exactly why,” Desormeaux said. “When you’re driving a Ferrari and you press the gas, you can get to those pockets that create themselves for a few seconds. He got there in a couple of strides.”
Rye returned $13.40 to win, $6.40 to place, and $5.00 to show. Ashleyluvssugar brought back $4.60 to place and $3.80 to show, while Accountability paid $8.00 to show.