ARCADIA, CA – Despite steadying midway down the backstretch, jockey Flavien Prat skillfully guided a rallying Texas Wedge late to take Wednesday’s $200,000 Joe Hernandez Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita Park.
Breaking from post 4 under Prat as the 2/1 favorite, Texas Wedge initially raced near the front while Bay Muzik posted opening fractions of :22.09 and :44.60. Texas Wedge initially raced with Grinning Tiger to the inside and his Peter Miller stablemate Captain Scotty to the outside, but Prat had to steady slightly when the running room got a bit tight.
Still leading as the field turned for home, Bay Muzik fought strongly to hold off Captain Scotty, but near the 1/16 pole, a charging Texas Wedge was gobbling up grass quickly. Taking command late, Texas Wedge powered home to a 3/4-length score in a final time of 1:02.47 for the 5 1/2-furlong event over the firm turf course.
Double Touch similarly rallied, coming from next-to-last to take second by a head over a tough Bay Muzik. Blitzkrieg and Captain Scotty were each a 1/2-length behind them for fourth and fifth, respectively, while Grinning Tiger weakened late to sixth.
Tribalist, True Valour, Legends of War, and Carnivorous completed the order of finish. Oiseau de Guerre was scratched.
Texas Wedge’s win was his first in a stakes event and improved his overall record to 13-5-3-2. The 5-year-old gelded son of Colonel John increased his career earnings mark to $313,350 for co-owners Altamira Racing Stable, Rafter JR Ranch, STD Racing Stable, and A. Miller.
Texas Wedge returned $6.20 to win, $4 to place, and $3.20 to show. Double Touch brought back $11.40 to place and $6.60 to show, while Bay Muzik paid $11 to show.