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Centralintelligence Responds at Santa Anita

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 finished last.

 

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.

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