After finishing fourth in the $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap earlier
this month, Thursday’s $71,850 Purple and Gold Purse might have paled in
comparison for victorious 4-5 favorite Holladay Road.
But the 7-year-old gelding, aggressively ridden by Garrett
Gomez, was all out to overtake Fire With Fire and Irish-bred longshot
Barney Rebel in a three-horse blanket finish to conclude the
mile-and-one-eighth Santa Anita turf feature raced in 1:46.86.
“This horse is doing good and there were no races on the dirt
for him,” said winning trainer Julio Canani. “He came out of the Big
’Cap in good shape and he’ll run on anything. He’s a nice horse
Holladay Road rallied on the extreme outside to score by a neck
over Fire With Fire, making his Santa Anita debut for trainer Neil
Drysdale with leading rider Joel Rosario aboard. Fire With Fire nosed
out 30-1 shot Barney Rebel, making his first U.S. start with Eswan
Flores in the saddle.
The winner, trained by Canani for Gary and Wendy Broad, had his
task complicated by having to rally from next to last in the field of
eight after Glowing Spirit and Barney Rebel took the contestants through
moderate early fractions of 23.47, 48.33 and 1:11.59.
Gomez, sensing the slow pace, moved his mount into hailing
distance nearing the far turn before swinging to the extreme outside for
a clear run down the homestretch. “He got to idling on me a little
bit,” said Gomez, “but he got there in time.”
Claimed by Canani on July 31 of last year at Del Mar for
$25,000, Holladay Road has become an outstanding acquisition. His
victory on Thursday was his fourth in seven starts for his current
connections while earning $242,940.
Canani said this would be Holladay Road’s final start of the meeting. “I’m going to wait and look for a Cal-bred race.”
A California-bred son of Street Cry, Holladay Road paid $3.60,
$2.60 and $2.40. Fire With Fire returned $5.20 and $4.80. Barney Rebel
paid $6.60 to show. The winning purse of $46,800 elevated the career
earnings of Holladay Road to $323,660 from a 7-1-2 record in 15 races.