Callback dials up a win in the Las Virgenes
Callback was able to get to the lead and hold off all her eight rivals to win the Grade 1 $300,000 Las Virgenes Stakes at Santa Anita on Saturday. Sent off as the 5/2, second choice Callback (BetPTC.com Top Selection) and Martin Garcia went right to the lead and received some mild pressure early on from long shot Suva Harbor. Callback started to kick away as the field came to the top of the lane while Light the City started to rally up on the outside. Callback really never looked in danger though as she held Light the City at bay to win by half a length. Light the City was second and was almost four lengths clear of Achievers Legacy who finished up in third.
In the Grade 2 Arcadia Stakes it was Avanzare and Gary Stevens who cruised to a facile length and a quarter win. Sent off at odds of almost 6/1, Avanzare (BetPTC.com 3rd Selection) sat just off the early lead of long shot El Nino Terrible who went out and set the early pace. Avanzare stayed glued to that rivals hip until they came to the top of the stretch and when Stevens let it out a notch, Avanzare responded and opened up two lengths, eventually holding off Za Approval (BetPTC.com 2nd Selection) who rallied up to finish second, a length and a quarter behind the winner. In the Grade 2 Palos Verdes it was Conquest Two Step (BetPTC.com Longshot) who had to wear down an ultra-game Secret Circle to get the win. Sent off at 5/1, Conquest Two Step and Joe Talamo stayed back off a hot pace as Distinctiv Passion and Big Macher went out and dueled each other through a rough opening quarter in 21.21 with Secret Circle just outside of them. Secret Circle made his bid after the lead as they turned for home and went on with it, but Conquest Two Step had all the late momentum and went by Secret Circle to win by a length and a quarter.
Ocean Knight overcomes wide trip to win the Sam F. Davis
Ocean Knight broke from the eleven hole and had to overcome covering lots of extra ground to gut out a win in the $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes. Sent off as the 8/5 favorite, Ocean Knight (BetPTC.com 2nd Selection) sat back in mid-pack as Divining Rod went out to set the pace early on. Divining Rod stayed on the lead as Ocean Knight slowly but surely moved up three wide on the final turn, with My Johnny Be Good (BetPTC.com Top Selection) right in between them. As they came into the stretch, Divining Rod and Ocean Knight went on with it, with Ocean Knight finally edging clear late to get up and win by a neck. Divining Rod was gallant but second best and was five clear of My Johnny Be Good who held on for third.
In the Grade 3 Endeavour it was Hard Not To Like who finished first across the line. But after coming out sharply late in the stretch, Hard Not To Like was disqualified and placed second behind Testa Rossi for interference down the lane. Testa Rossi was rallying from off the pace when Hard Not To Like came out and forced jockey Irad Ortiz and Testa Rossi to check hard. The stewards felt the interference was enough to warrant a disqualification and they took Hard Not to Like Down and put up Testa Rossi. In the Suncoast Stakes it was Include Betty who flew from last at 18/1 to score a huge upset in the race for three year old fillies. Huasca and John Velasquez took command midway through the race and opened up a strong three length lead as they ran onto the second turn. Include Betty started to roll and circled the entire field in the final quarter of a mile to get up and win by a neck.
Take Charge Brandi holds on to win the Martha Washington
Take Charge Brandi gave her backers quite the scare in the final sixteenth of a mile, but the two year old champ from last year hung on to win by a head at Oaklawn in the Martha Washington Stakes. Take Charge Brandi (BetPTC.com Top Selection) went to the front and was able to get away with a pretty easy half mile of 48.10 seconds. Take Charge Brandi got a challenge from Sarah Sis (BetPTC.com 3rd Selection) midway on the turn as she drew to within a half length. But Take Charge Brandi kicked away in mid-stretch and looked home free when all of a sudden Sarah Sis started really digging into the lead and made it close, with Take Charge Brandi holding on to win by a head over Sarah Sis.