In the garden spot while an attending third at the dirt crossing, Holly and David Wilson’s Pubilius Syrus rallied outside dueling leaders Afleet Ascent and Psycho Dar at the top of stretch and motored to an impressive one length win under Kent Desormeaux in Sunday’s $75,000 Baffle Stakes. Trained by Vladimir Cerin, the Kentucky-bred colt by Candy Ride Ride got 6 ½ furlongs down Santa Anita’s hillside turf course in 1:13.04.
“What a tutelage job by Mr. Cerin today,” said Desormeaux, Santa Anita’s current stakes winning jockey, who notched his eighth added money win, two better than Tyler Baze. “He was sitting right behind the leaders, just cruising with tons of speed to spare. Quite honestly, I think I got to the lead too quick today.”
Shortening up out of five consecutive one mile turf races, Pubilius Syrus came off a head victory in the Eddie Logan Stakes here Dec. 29 and was off as the 5-2 third choice in a field of six sophomores and paid $7.20, $3.80 and $2.80.
“We really think he’s a mile and a quarter horse or longer, and if he can win at this distance, so much the better,” said Cerin. “I’ve always had success with Kent. When he’s on, he’s hard to beat…I used to give him instructions 20 years ago, but I’ve matured since.”
With two stakes wins now to his credit, Pubilius Syrus now has three wins from seven overall starts. With the winner’s share of $46,800, he now has earnings of $158,940.
Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, Afleet Ascent bounded out of the gate and was second best on the day, finishing 1 ¼ lengths in front of favored Colosi. Off at 4-1, Afleet Ascent paid $4.80 and $3.40.
With Joe Talamo up, Colosi was next to last while unhurried early, but never threatened through the drive as he finished third, 3 ¼ lengths in front of morning line favorite Hemp Hemp Hurray.
Off at 2-1, Colosi paid $2.60 to show.
Hemp Hemp Hurray, who shipped in from his Palm Meadows, Florida training base for Wesley Ward, was away slowly with Victor Espinoza and lacked the necessary rally.
Fractions on the race were 21.59, 43.81 and 1:06.72.