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Weston Hits a Small Bomb in Best Pal
Credit: Benoit Photo

Weston Hits a Small Bomb in Best Pal

DEL MAR, CA – Trainer Ryan Hanson’s Weston hit a small bomb while getting up just in time to win Saturday’s $150,000 Best Pal Stakes (G2) at Del Mar.

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Weston broke from post 6 under Drayden Van Dyke at 5/1 odds and sat sandwiched between the 1/2 favorite Roderick and the rail-riding Girther through opening fractions of :22.78 and :46.44.

Roderick gave way in the far turn, but Weston and Girther turned for home ready for a match race. Girther pulled ahead at the top of the stretch and looked momentarily like a runaway winner at 32/1, but Weston’s grinding effort gave him enough momentum to slowly sidle up alongside Girther.

Fighting hard in the shadow of the wire, Weston got up just in time to score by a neck in a final time of 1:12.72 for the 6-furlong fast dirt sprint.

Credit: Benoit Photo

“Boy, I had to work hard for that one, but I’m glad I did,” said Van Dyke. “I was happy to win it for Ryan Hanson. He’s such a kind man and a good horse trainer, and this horse showed some class, too. Ryan told me he never got to paddock him (prior to the race), but he was just standing in there like an old pro. I knew I got there in the end and I’m real glad I did.”

Girther was 1 1/4 lengths ahead of the Doug O’Neill-trained duo of Ambivalent and Sonic Brees, who made heavy contact with each other at the very top of the stretch. Though no objections were lodged, the stewards hung the inquiry sign and later voted 2-1 to disqualify Ambivalent and place him fourth behind his stablemate.

SchnellHerd Immunity, and Roderick completed the order of finish.

Weston’s win was his second from as many starts, having broken his maiden on debut at Santa Anita Park on June 21. The 2-year-old Hit It a Bomb gelding became the first graded stakes winner for both his freshman sire and his trainer, who co-owns along with Chris Drakos.

“He broke sharp, just like we wanted him to, but then it looked like he just sat there for a minute,” Hanson said. “I got a little nervous when he got shuffled back, but then he got back up there and fought on. The time was not very impressive, but that doesn’t matter. I didn’t think we were going to win it. I thought we’d be second to (Girther), who had had a trip over the track, but I’m just really happy.”

Weston returned $12.20 to win, $6.80 to place, and $4.60 to show. Girther brought back $21.80 to place and $11 to show, while Sonic Brees paid $7.40 to show.

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