Saturday’s $75,000 Eddie Logan Stakes, for 2-year-olds at one mile
and named for Santa Anita’s beloved late shoeshine attendant, was
reduced from a field of 10 to five horses due to a shift in surface from
the turf to one mile on the main track.
Avare, owned in part by University of Louisville basketball
coach Rick Pitino, and trained by Doug O’Neill, relished the wet-fast
going and scored a dominate gate to wire victory, winning by 4 ¼ lengths
in 1:36.39 after carving out fractions of 23.50, 47.44, 1:11.26 and
“We were actually glad when the race came off the grass,” said
assistant trainer Dennis O’Neill. “Coach Pitino (who races as RAP
Racing) owns a majority interest in him and he’s in Kentucky today
(coaching the Cardinals to victory over the University of Kentucky),
trying to find out how he did. This is a nice horse and we think he’ll
run a long way.”
Just how far, is an oft-asked question this time of year.
“The late 2-year-old, early 3-year-old picture changes so much
so we’re keeping all our options open,” said Doug O’Neill. “It’s still
just a five-horse field victory but this game is part dreaming, so we’ll
dream a little bit.”
The second choice at 5-2, Avare and Bejarano broke from post position four and paid $7.60, $3.60 and $2.80.
“I knew I had to try to send him because I knew the eight
(even-money favorite Gabriel Charles) wanted to get to the lead,” said
Bejarano. “I knew I had to take the chance. Once he got the lead, I
got him to relax and when we hit the stretch, he was off. I worked him
two or three times before the race and he was just amazing. I think he
loves the distance and I think he could get a mile and a quarter.”
Also owned by Jeff Bloom and Michael Shustek’s Majestic Racing
Stable, LLC, Avare, a Kentucky-bred son of Johannesburg, picked up
$46,500 for the win, boosting his earnings to $78,900 from a record of
Gabriel Charles, ridden by Joe Talamo, never threatened the
winner while second-best, finishing 4 ¼ lengths in front of Will True Up
and Edwin Maldonado.
“We had a perfect trip,” said Talamo. “I was lying second to the winner the whole way, but we were just second best today.”
Gabriel Charles paid $2.80 and $2.40.
Will True Up, off at 5-1, paid $3.00 to show.