Following a dreadful trip in the Grade II Robert B. Lewis Stakes on
Feb. 4, Chips All In got back in gear Friday with a gritty wire-to-wire
victory in Santa Anita’s 9th running of the $74,260 Pasadena Stakes for
3-year-olds at one mile on turf.
With Alonso Quinonez aboard, Chips All In quickly gained command
in the field of 10 with Tones in close pursuit and 2-1 favorite
Midnight Crooner stalking in third, and that’s the way they finished in
what turned out to be a “carousel race.”
“Every time they got close to him, he kept going,” said Quinonez. “He likes to compete.”
The winning margin was a neck as the winner gamely withstood
challenges by the runner-up, ridden by Eswan Flores. Midnight Crooner,
with Corey Nakatani aboard, finished another length back in third.
The winning time was 1:34.56 after Chips All In was able to
guide his pursuers through leisurely early fractions of 24.08, 48.17 and
That’s Dangerous, who was the trailer into the far turn,
appeared to take a bad step, fell and dropped jockey Victor Espinoza,
whose condition was not immediately known.
As the third choice at 7-2, Chips All In paid $9.80, $5.20 and
$3.60. The mutuels on Tones were $10.40 and $5.40. Midnight Crooner paid
$3.40 to show.
Trained by Jeff Mullins for a partnership, Chips All In has won 5
of 7 starts including the Dec. 31 Eddie Logan Stakes at one mile on
turf in an 11-1 upset. He missed by a head in another start with the
sixth-place finish in Lewis at 1 1/16 miles on dirt being the only
unsightly notation on his resume.
“He’s a freak on grass,” said Quinonez, “but I know what
happened last time (in the Lewis). We were hung real wide going into the
first turn, and I tried to save ground by pushing him down inside. But
when I did, he cut himself behind. He was running okay down the
backside, but I know it bothered him. Jeff (Mullins) thought he could be
a Derby horse.”
Now 2-for-2 on turf, the Kentucky-bred son of Northern Light
hiked his earnings to $193,600 with the winning purse of $43,800 from
the Pasadena Stakes. Chips All In was purchased at sale for $4,500 as a