Race Recaps

Sparky Ville Ignites G2 San Vicente Upset

Ernie Belmonte

ARCADIA, CA – Del Secco DCS Racing’s Sparky Ville, dismissed at the window, rallied past a pair of highly-regarded colts in the stretch and got up in the shadow of the wire to steal Saturday’s Grade 2, $200,000 San Vicente Stakes at Santa Anita Park.

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Breaking from post 4 under Joel Rosario at 7/1 odds, Sparky Ville cleared the three foes to his inside and crossed over to the rail while Savagery and the 3/5 favorite Coliseum dueled through opening fractions of :22.07 and :44.32. Midway through the far turn, the 2/1 second choice Dessman made his move running three-wide, and by the top of the stretch, had put his head in front. Behind them, Rosario tipped Sparky Ville off the rail to avoid a weakening Savagery. In the clear with 2 furlongs remaining, Sparky Ville responded alertly to Rosario’s cue and commenced a strong rally in an effort to collar Dessman. Catching the leader seven jumps before the wire, the Jeff Bonde trainee was able to put his nose in front to secure his first career graded stakes score in a final time of 1:21.93 for the 7-furlong sprint over the wet fast (sealed) main track.

“Going into the far turn, I was in tight, but I had to wait because I thought those horses were moving a little early,” Rosario said. “When we left the 1/4 pole, I asked him and he really picked it up. I thought those horses would come back to me and we would win easy, but (Dessman) kept fighting and it was close. I knew he had run well with Gary (Stevens, the recently-retired Hall of Fame jockey) and I’m happy with the way he ran today. He was comfortable sitting in behind those horses and I like the way he picked it up when I asked him to go.”

Despite breaking a step slow and running wide through the far turn, Dessman appeared to be home free until getting nailed at the wire. Following the race, jockey Flavien Prat was pleased with his steed’s efforts and took the blame for the loss.

“I moved too soon,” Prat said. “He fought back when he saw that horse. He ran great.”

Much more disappointing was the effort (or lack thereof) from Dessman’s much-ballyhooed stablemate Coliseum, who finished 6 1/2 lengths behind in third. Synthesis had no rally after racing near the rear and took fourth over a spent Savagery to complete the order of finish.

Sparky Ville’s win was first since taking the $70,000 Sunny Slope Stakes here on October 21 while going 6 1/2 furlongs and improved his record to 8-3-1-2. The 3-year-old gelded son of Candy Ride nearly doubled his career earnings to $257,770 after taking home $120,000 for the score.

“I was absolutely dancing into the Winner’s Circle,” Bonde said. “It was so exciting and Joel has been like one of my kids ever since he came from Bay Meadows. We tease each other a lot. We greet each other by grunting and everybody looks at us like, ‘What’s that all about?’ but we’ve been doing it for years, so it’s wonderful to win with him. The owners are great people that really deserve something like this.”

Sparky Ville returned $16.80 to win, $5.60 to place, and $2.40 to show. Dessman brought back $3.40 to place and $2.20 to show, while Coliseum paid $2.10 to show.

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