In a blanket finish to end all blanket finishes, even-money
favored California Flag, the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint champion from last November,
prevailed by the narrowest of margins, a nose, to win Wednesday's featured
$102,175 Green Flash Handicap.
With six horses separated by less than a length at the wire,
California Flag and jockey Mike Smith won out after a furious stretch battle.
Deadheating for second were Quick Enough and My Summer Slew, with fourth-place
Cost of Freedom another half-length away. Fifth-place Lt. Hopeful, who set
blistering early fractions, was fifth, another head back, while Stoneside was only another neck away in
sixth place in the eight-horse field.
Making it two straight victories in the Green Flash at five
furlongs over the infield grass course, Hi Card Ranch's California Flag sped
the distance in 55.58 seconds under highweight of 124 pounds. His time last
summer was 55.22 seconds.
California Flag, a six-year-old California-bred son of
Avenue of Flags trained by Brian Koriner, returned $4.20, $2.60 and $2.60 after
his ninth win in 19 starts. First money of $61,575 increased his bankroll to
Quick Enough paid $3.40 and $4.60, while My Summer Slew
returned $2.60 and $3.60.
Wednesday's attendance was 13,556.