Hightail is a maiden no more. The Wayne Lukas trainee snuck up the rail to nip 1-2 favorite Merit Man in Friday's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Sprint at Santa Anita Park.
The stewards conducted an inquiry into the stretch run. They focused on a bumping incident between the first two finishers but ruled that there would be no change to the original order of finish.
Hightail was ridden to victory by Rajiv Maragh and paid $32.80 to win. Merit Man was 2nd, followed by Sweet Shirley Mae, Hazardous, and Ceiling Kitty.
South Floyd scratched at the gate and Super Ninety Nine, trained by Bob Baffert, was declared the morning of the race after getting cast in his stall.
Rajiv Maragh (jockey, Hightail, 1st) – “I had a great
trip, saved ground and just waited behind horses. He showed a lot of courage
coming through the narrow opening between the rail and the other horse (Merit
Man). I was not worried about the foul claim because the 3 (Merit Man)
initiated the contact.”
D. Wayne Lukas (trainer, Hightail, 1st) – “I just thought
that we had a great shot. These races are historically very fast up front.
We’re a good closer and I thought we had a shot.
“It hasn’t been that long (since my last
Breeders’ Cup win – 2005 Juvenile Fillies with Foklore). They don’t come that
Bob Hess Jr. (trainer, Merit Man, 2nd) – “(Jockey) Patrick
(Valenzuela) said he (Hightail) came out and bumped him a couple times. He
dropped back a neck or so and came back to be beat a nose. It is what it is.
“This guy needs a target. He had no
target. When South Point came out of the race (late scratch at gate), it was
almost a negative. He’s a very nice 2-year-old. We’re proud of him.”
Patrick Valenzuela (jockey, Merit Man, 2nd) – “I thought I
was on the best horse. He shot out of there and we were there most of the way.
The stewards made the decision, but I still thought I was on the best horse.”
Joel Rosario (jockey, Sweet Shirley Mae, 3rd) – “I
thought they (Hightail and Merit Man) were going to go the way they did. She
ran a good race. They were just a little better. It was a good race for her.”
Edwin Maldonado (jockey, Hazardous, 4th) – “He broke a
little sharper than I expected. When we came around the turn, he grabbed the
bridle and I thought we were going to get there. He ran a big race.”
Thomas Dascombe (trainer, Ceiling Kitty, 5th) – “There you
go. I was quite encouraged going down the backstretch. Maybe she didn’t like
the dirt and maybe she didn’t stay.”
John Velazquez (jockey, Ceiling Kitty, 5th) – “I think I
maybe asked her to do a bit too much early on. She broke well and we were
laying second. She was not getting any dirt in her face at all. When I asked
her, she kept the same pace and the others were just faster.”