“There’s no place like home.” Nobody said it better than Judy Garland in 1938’s epic “The Wizard of Oz,” and it was only fitting that heavily favored River Boyne, in a return to Santa Anita, put his connections “Over the Rainbow” by winning Saturday’s $100,000 Rainbow Stakes as the 2-5 favorite.
Ridden by Flavien Prat and trained by Jeff Mullins, Irish-bred River Boyne ran his unbeaten streak over the Santa Anita turf to four races, as he won by 2 ¼ lengths while getting a mile and one eighth in 1:49.18.
A close second behind Blame the Rider into the far turn, River Boyne put a head in front at the quarter pole and was never challenged thereafter in a powerful effort, which followed a fifth place finish as the 3-1 favorite in the Grade II American Turf Stakes at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day, May 5.
“Down the backside he settled, but the first part he didn’t,” said Prat. “He did that at Churchill in his last out too. He broke a bit slow and I had a hard time trying to relax him. He did the same thing a little today as well but he also might just be a bit fresh…
“I was pretty comfortable the last part of the race and he has a great turn of foot. That’s the thing with him, he has such a good turn of foot.”
The overwhelming 2-5 favorite in a field of four 3-year-olds, River Boyne paid $2.80 and $2.10 with no show wagering.
“The race didn’t set up perfect for him, because Flavien was fighting trying to keep him off that other horse (Blame the Rider),” said Mullins. “Three quarters of the way around there, he was fighting him...That was worrying me, because a lot of times you fight the race out of them, but he ran great. Flavien got him to relax and did a great job. He likes firm ground, that’s the main thing.”
Owned by Red Baron’s Barn, LLC and Rancho Temescal, LLC, River Boyne, who was a winner of the one mile turf Pasadena Stakes two starts back on March 17, is now 9-4-2-0. With the winner’s share of $60,000, he now has earnings of $271,718.
Ridden by Tyler Conner, Blame the Rider was easily second, finishing 2 ¼ lengths in front of Arawak. Off at 9-2, Blame the Rider paid $3.20.
Fractions on the race were 23.60, 47.90, 1:12.52 and 1:36.94.