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ARCADIA, CA – An onslaught of precipitation forced Saturday’s Pasadena Stakes off the turf at Santa Anita Park, but for McShane Racing’s Stubbins, that was part of the recipe that helped him cook up his first career big score.
Breaking from the rail under Tyler Baze as the 9/5 second choice, Stubbins showed good early speed and secured command before posting opening fractions of :23.14, :46.02, and 1:10.29. Kicking clear in the second turn, Stubbins took off down the stretch and cleared away to win by 8 easy lengths in a final time of 1:36.15 for the mile-long event over the sloppy main track.
“I’ve never ridden him before, but from watching tape of all four of his races, he seemed very ‘push button,’” said Baze, filling in for regular rider Rafael Bejarano. “It sure looked like he’s a horse that wants to go and I’m glad they didn’t change the game plan in the paddock.”
Neptune’s Storm was able to hold onto second by a 1/2-length over a late-moving Mayor Cobb, while the race’s 4/5 favorite Big Scott Daddy appeared to hate the off going and finished a disappointing fourth. Eagle Song completed the order of finish. Colonial Creed, Much Better, Rijeka, and Shining Through were all scratched due to the surface change.
Stubbins’ win was his third straight, all at Santa Anita Park, and improved his overall record to 5-3-1-1 with $146,400 earned. The 3-year-old son of Morning Line had suffered issues with his shins earlier in his career, but now the Doug O’Neill trainee looks healthy and bright.
“It’s unbelievably exciting to have this colt, plus the fact that Team O’Neill has done such a great job, I couldn’t be more excited,” said owner Jack McShane. “I had envisioned something in a short distance for the future, but now, I don’t know.”
Stubbins returned $5.80 to win, $3.60 to place, and $3.40 to show. Neptune’s Storm brought back $4.20 to place and $3.20 to show, while Mayor Cobb paid $4.40 to show.
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