ARCADIA, CA – Mark Devereaux and Scott Gross homebred Tiger Dad and Sarah Kelly and Jane Wiltz’s Gingham broke their stakes maidens Saturday at Santa Anita Park, bringing acclaim to their connections in the co-features of a nine-race card.
Tiger Dad had to fight every step of the way to win the $100,000 Thor’s Echo Stakes, a 6-furlong dirt sprint for California-bred 3-year-olds. With Victor Espinoza aboard, he dueled along the inside of Principe Carlo down the backstretch and through the far turn.
The even-money favorite and defending champion Desert Law, who like Tiger Dad hails from the Carla Gaines barn, could only muster third as the two pace-setters drew off in the stretch. Tiger Dad kept running gamely along the inside before winning by 3/4 of a length over Principe Carlo, while Loud Mouth and Oliver completed the order of finish.
Tiger Dad’s win improved the Smiling Tiger gelding’s record to 15-4-5-3 with $276,661 earned.
Tiger Dad returned $7.60 to win, $3.80 to place, and $2.20 to show. Principe Carlo brought back $3.60 to place and $2.20 to show, while Desert Law paid $2.10 to show.
Two races later on the card, Gingham hinted that sprinting might be her best game when she rallied from off the pace to win the $75,000 Angels Flight Stakes for 3-year-old fillies. Hall of Famer Mike Smith let the Bob Baffert trainee settle behind her four rivals after she broke from the rail as the 8/5 favorite.
Biddy Duke set quick early fractions but could not hold sway as Been Studying Her swept past at the top of the lane. Gingham found her best stride in mid-stretch after tipping off the rail and met the new leader’s throat latch at the 1/16 pole.
Gingham surged late under a hand ride to win the 6 1/2-furlong fast dirt event by 1 length over Been Studying Her, who was 5 1/4 lengths clear of Biddy Duke. High On Gin and Pride and Honor completed the order of finish.
Gingham’s win notched her record up to 9-3-4-0 with $202,200 earned. The Quality Road filly was purchased for $420,000 as a yearling.
Gingham returned $5.40 to win, $2.80 to place, and $2.20 to show. Been Studying Her brought back $2.80 to place and $2.20 to show, while Biddy Duke paid $2.80 to show.