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Pender Calls Audible for Ultimate Eagle

After working five furlongs on Hollywood Park’s Cushion Track in 59.80 Tuesday, Mike Pender decided Wednesday to enter streaking Ultimate Eagle in the Grade II, $150,000 Sir Beaufort Stakes for 3-year-olds at one mile on turf on opening day.

Winner of all four of his grass races—the last four in a row—Ultimate Eagle had been ticketed for a start on dirt, possibly in the San Fernando Stakes on Jan. 14 or the Strub Stakes on Feb. 4.

“We have certain goals to meet every year and within those goals, we can call some audibles, and this is one of them,” Pender said Wednesday morning at Santa Anita.

Ultimate Eagle, a Mizzen Mast colt owned by B.J. Wright of Pasadena, won two grass races at Del Mar some four months ago, then won the Grade II Oak Tree Derby at odds of 34-1 at Santa Anita on Oct. 15 before leading throughout to take the Grade I Hollywood Derby by nearly a length at 14-1.

Multiple stakes winner Jeranimo, eyeing a repeat win in the Grade II San Gabriel Stakes on Jan. 16, also worked Tuesday at Hollywood for Pender, going four furlongs in 48 seconds. “Jeranimo worked sensational,” Pender said. “He couldn’t have worked any better. Ultimate Eagle did the same thing. They both just went as easy as could be.”

Martin Pedroza, who has ridden Ultimate Eagle in his four victories, retains the mount. Whether the streak reaches five remains to be seen, since Pender has ample respect for his rivals.

“It’s probably the deepest Sir Beaufort I’ve ever seen,” he said.

The field for the 12th running of the Sir Beaufort, which goes as the eighth race: Cozy Kitten, Alonso Quinonez; Venomous, Joel Rosario; Comma to the Top, Joe Talamo; Mr. Commons, Mike Smith; Thirtyfirststreet, Hector Berrios; Irish Art, Rafael Bejarano; Moment of Weakness, Kevin Krigger; Ultimate Eagle, Martin Pedroza; and Riveting Reason, Victor Espinoza.

Mr. Commons worked five furlongs on Hollywood’s Cushion Track Wednesday in 1:00.80 for trainer John Shirreffs.



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Older Comments about Pender Calls Audible for Ultimate Eagle...

I like Ultimate Eagle and Comma to the Top as the top 2 finishers. Given Ultimate Eagle's recent streak, I think he has the edge here.

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