Photo: Benoit Photography
maiden $25,000 claiming winner on Nov. 16 at Laurel Park, Maryland,
4-year-old rags to riches poster child Bright Thought
rattled off his
fourth consecutive win and set a new world record in taking Saturday’s
mile and one half Grade II, $150,000 San Luis Rey Stakes on the turf in
2:22.72—finishing 3 ¼ lengths clear of longshot All Squared Away.
With gate to wire scores in a starter allowance Feb. 3 and a
first condition allowance to his credit on Feb. 21, Bright Thought,
ridden for the first time by Victor Espinoza, was dispatched as the 5-2
second choice in the eight-horse San Luis Rey, which was run for the
62nd time on Saturday.
As expected, Slim Shadey, who came off a front running win in
the Grade II San Marcos on Feb. 9, showed good early speed from the rail
with Gary Stevens up. “Slim” was content to sit second to Bright
Thought as the field began its journey down the hillside and onto the
“course proper,” but Stevens turned up the heat around the Club House
turn, and had a diminishing half length advantage with a quarter mile to
“In his prior races here, he did show that he would settle, but
we were a little worried about Slim Shadey coming out (running),” said
winning trainer Jorge Gutierrez, who notched his first-ever graded
stakes win in the San Luis Rey. “…If he did come out running, we wanted
to sit off him a little and that’s fine. We broke good enough and when
Slim Shadey came on the outside of him, we kind of let him go by and
(my horse) relaxed.
“Victor had worked the horse and watched videos of him and knew
him quite well…He used good judgement and it worked out perfect.”
Bred in-part by Alex Venneri and owned by Venneri, Marjorie,
Michael and Joanne Dye, Bright Thought paid $7.40, $5.80 and $4.60. A
4-year-old Kentucky-bred colt by the Sunday Silence stallion Hat Trick,
Bright Thought bagged $90,000 and increased his earnings to $164,500.
With an allowance win at Penn National negated due to a purse
disqualification, he now officially has four wins from seven starts.
“He’s an unbelievable horse, he’s an unbelievable talent,” said
Espinoza. “He broke running, and I was going to go on with (Slim
Shadey), but I didn’t want to go head to head with every other horse all
the way to the wire so I eased back a bit. I gave him a little
breather and started to let him run from the three eighths (pole)…He can
go any distance. He has the speed, but he can rate, too.”
All Squared Away, ridden by Edwin Maldonado, was keen early and
tugged his way into a forward position early, and ran gamely to finish
second, three quarters of a length in front of Fire With Fire and Tyler
Baze. All Squared Away paid $10.80 and $6.20.
Fire With Fire and last year’s San Luis Rey winner Bourbon Bay
provided trainer Neil Drysdale with a one-two punch, but Bourbon Bay
never fired, finishing seventh. Fire With Fire, off at 20-1, sat third
early and paid $8.60 to show.
Race favorite Interaction, off at 2-1, finished fourth and was “just flat today” according to jockey Brice Blanc.
Bright Thought’s course record final time broke Hawkster’s mark of 2:22.80, established on Oct. 14, 1989.