There was no stopping Centralinteligence, who had been eased in the
Grade I Malibu Stakes on opening day Dec. 26, as the 4-year-old son of
Smarty Jones delivered a one-length victory when returning Thursday in
Santa Anita’s $60,700 allowance feature at 6 ½ furlongs.
With leading jockey Joel Rosario scoring his third win of four
on the afternoon, Centralinteligence rallied from just off a swift early
pace to get home in 1:14.30 as the even-money favorite.
Sahara Sky, the second-choice at 3-1 in the field of seven with
Joe Talamo aboard, closed strongly to gain the place, 2 ½ lengths ahead
of Classic Legacy and jockey Rafael Bejarano.
Centralinteligence had been considered a serious contender with
Rosario aboard in the $300,000 Malibu when sent off at odds of 7-1. The
year-ending stakes for 3-year-olds is a fixture that had been won by
such luminaries as Spectacular Bid, Damascus and Buckpasser.
But breaking from the rail for the first time in his career, the
chestnut gelding trained by Ron Ellis was never comfortable. “He cut
himself up from putting on the breaks when going 35 miles an hour,”
explained Ellis. “All the cuts where superficial, fortunately. He didn’t
like being inside like that.”
Centralinteligence was placed outside of rivals after breaking
from post position No. 6 on Thursday. He raced behind C J Russell and
Anthony’s Cross, who disputed the early lead through fractions of 21.48
and 43.78. Anthony’s Cross, winner of last year’s Grade II, $250,000
Robert B. Lewis Stakes, was making his first start since a fifth-place
finish in the 2011 Santa Anita Derby.
Rosario rallied Centralinteligence four wide around the far turn
before taking the lead near midstretch en route to his third victory in
seven starts. Anthony’s Cross, clearly needing the race, tired and
The winner paid $4, $2.80 and $2.60. Sahara Sky returned $3 and
$2.40. Classic Legacy paid $4 to show. The winner’s share of $36,000
increased the career earnings of Centralinteligence to $114,550 for
Amerman Racing Stables, Bongo Racing, Gary Finder and partners.
With a Pick Six carryover of $94,093 from Sunday, fans wagered an
additional $604,972 for a total Pick Six pool of $699,065. There were
162 winning tickets that paid $2,575.80. Five of six paid $43.