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HRN Original Blog:
SoCal_Scoop

Ultimate Eagle Soars to Massive Upset in Oak Tree Derby (Video)

Allowed to float on the lead through moderate fractions, Ultimate Eagle repelled all challengers through the stretch and lit up the tote board as a 34-to-1 long shot in the $150,000 Oak Tree Derby (Grade II) over a mile and an eighth on Santa Anita's turf course.

"There was a ton of speed in the race, but (jockey) Martin (Pedroza) knew this was a free-running colt so he put him on the lead and let him take care of the rest," said trainer Michael Pender. "Going down the back stretch when Midnight Interlude (eventual fourth place finisher as the 9-to-5 favorite) was right at our throat latch, I saw him get asked a little bit and I said, 'This thing is over.'"

"Anybody who'd listen I told them this horse was going to run his eye balls out and this would be the best race of his career. He wasn't going to leave anything on the table and that's exactly what he did."

The son of Mizzen Mast has now won three straight races since moving to the turf, parlaying maiden and allowance scores into a successful stakes debut against a solid group of 13 runners.

"He's back from the dead. He came within a hair of dying. He's very happy to be alive as he's shown today," said owner B J Wright, referring to his three-year-old colt's bout with colic.

Pender and Wright teamed up to win last week's Oak Tree Mile (Grade II) on the turf with Jeranimo, who also won the Strub Stakes (Grade II) last year on dirt. Despite having never run on dirt, the plan is for Ultimate Eagle to attempt to follow in his barn mate's footsteps.

"Initially, we had our sights set on the Strub. We wanted to win it with Jeranimo and this horse so everything is on track for that to happen," said Pender.

The Strub is the third race in a series that also includes the Malibu (Grade I), on the day after Christmas, and San Fernando (Grade II), in January. Hopes are for Ultimate Eagle to compete in all three events.

After trailing in second to last going into the turn for home in his stateside debut, 4-to-1 second choice Venomous settled for second, just half a length behind Ultimate Eagle, and 17-to-1 shot Cozy Kitten also made up late ground to round out a trifecta that paid over $5,700 for a buck.

Make sure to follow me on Twitter @mdoche for much more and visit www.pick4blog.com for daily selections and analysis!


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What the Nation is saying about Ultimate Eagle Soars to Massive Upset in Oak Tree Derby (Video)...

That was a hell of a ride by Pedroza, but Venomous had a ton of traffice trouble & was probably best.
34-1 ... wish I had him!

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Meet Marc Doche

 

As a life long horse racing fan and handicapper, it’s an honor to be joining
Horseracingnation.com to share my knowledge and expertise on a daily basis to horse racing fans.
 
Since the early 1980’s when I visited Santa Anita with my grandfather as a young boy, the track has been in my blood. As soon as I turned 16, I was driving out to the track as much as possible, and with the advent of the self-service machines, was able to wager hassle free.
 
After graduating from UCLA in 2000, I began my career in sports media as a site manager for Athletesdirect.com and a couple of years later became the Media Relations Coordinator for the Los Angeles Avengers of the Arena Football League.
 
In the past few years, I have moved my focus to covering the Sport of Kings and have worked in the early hours to better understand morning workouts and putting the pieces of the handicapping puzzle together.
 
I have also used my journalistic talents to produce video coverage of stakes races in Southern California, as well as interviews with jockeys, trainers, owners and more. I look forward to providing their in-depth insight to you.