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Soi Phet still going strong, winning stakes races at age 10

Soi Phet wins 2016 McCann's Mojave
Photo: Benoit Photo/Santa Anita
At age 10, he’s believed to be the oldest horse to ever win a Santa Anita Stakes. Soi Phet’s the name, and with his ultra-game head victory going one mile on turf in Sunday’s $100,000 Crystal Water Stakes in the history books, his trainer Leonard Powell is proud and looking for more.

“I’m extremely proud of him and we are blessed to have him,” said Powell on Thursday morning. Claimed for $16,000 by Powell himself and fellow owners the Benowitz Family Trust and Paul Viskovich 42 starts prior to the Crystal Water on May 23, 2013, the California-bred gelding by Tizbud has won 13 of his 43 starts with Powell (seven of them stakes) and has amassed total earnings of  $955,250 from an overall mark of 58-14-7-6.

“To see him run like he did the other day, it’s like you’re rooting for one of your kids,” Powell said. “The key has been to give him a break every winter. It’s kept him fresh and instead of just grinding ahead with him, he’s come back well every time we’ve given him the time.

“You have to love horses that try that hard. In the Californian (Grade II, 1 1/8 miles on dirt April 28), he was on the lead, but when Baffert’s horse (Dr. Dorr) passed him, he just said, ‘I’ll save myself for another day.’ He didn’t exert himself and that’s why I ran him back so quick in the Crystal Water . . . It didn’t have anything to do with running him on the grass, it was just that the Californian didn’t take anything out of him.

“He’s special, no question. We’ve been selecting horses over the last two centuries, trying to find those with the will to win. He’s come out of the Crystal Water extremely well and he’s gone back to the track (to train). If all goes well, we’ll run him in the Bertrando (one mile, dirt) at Los Alamitos on July 9.”

Beyond that, Powell said on Sunday, “We’ll just race him as long as he’s happy. I hope another year, but he’ll tell us . . . I’ll race him once or twice at Del Mar, again in September and then he’ll get a vacation and we’ll try it again next year.”

 

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