SAN PASQUAL STAKES | PURSE: $200,000 | 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP | GRADE 3 | 1 1/16-MILES
Bad Boy Racing LLC and Whizway Farms' Blueskiesnrainbows took command of Saturday's Grade 2, $200,500 San Pasqual at Santa Anita soon after the gates opened and never looked back en route to a 1 ¼-length victory over Majestic Harbor. He paid $6.20 for the win as the 2-1 favorite against his six rivals.
With jockey Martin Pedroza aboard, Blueskiesnrainbows set splits of :23 ⅘, :47 ⅘ and 1:12 ⅕ while tracked by Spud Spivens behind and on the outside. That rival began fading nearing the turn, but Majestic Harbor was more than willing to pick up the slack. The bay six-year-old ranged up to Blueskiesnrainbows' throat latch entering the stretch but couldn't keep up as the eventual winner kicked into a another gear and drew off to finish 1 1/16 miles on the fast main track in 1:43.
"Everybody seems to think that he has to have the lead, but he doesn't necessarily," Pedroza asserted. "He's not really quick from the gate, so you have to send him to get position. Once you get him going though, he's OK. The reason we send him is because of that, he's not aggressive right away, so we send him.
"It worked out well and I got the lead all to myself today. He galloped out strong, I had to fight to pull him up."
Majestic Harbor proved best of the rest, 2 ¼ lengths up on Drill, who just held third by a nose over Majestic City. Rousing Sermon came next and was followed by Blingo and Spud Spivens.
"What a nice classy horse -- in my opinion he was the best horse in the race," said Tyler Baze, who rode Majestic Harbor. "I got a little excited with him and thought I was going to win, and dropped my stick. He's the kind of horse that acts like you need to ride him a little, and he likes the stick -- he runs from it."
"I was very, very pleased with his run," trainer Sean McCarthy praised his charge Majestic Harbor. "He hadn't been out since May, so that thought in the back of your mind is, 'Are we really tight enough yet?' But by the same token, his last work was just super, and we felt really confident. I thought that if he could run off that work, then he should put in a good effort today. And he did, so I was really pleased.
"The trip was perfect. Tyler and I talked, and this horse needs to be in the race. I knew the two horse [Blueskiesnrainbows] would be up. I didn't know [Spud Spivens] would be up, too, but we knew we'd have a little bit of speed in front of us, which was perfect to tow us around the turn. As important, I wanted to be outside, and Tyler got him outside. He's a horse that prefers that position. So we have no excuse. He ran a hell of a race, and the best horse won today. But we got a hell of a race out of our horse."
Blueskiesnrainbows earned his second straight graded score in this spot after taking the Native Diver at Hollywood Park on December 14. That followed a game runner-up effort in the Breeders' Cup Marathon, and the Jerry Hollendorfer trainee also boasts wins in last year's Ralph M Hinds Handicap and the 2012 Swaps. Besides the Marathon, his placings include the 2012 Santa Anita Derby and 2013 Cougar II Handicap.
"The horse is doing real good right now," Hollendorfer noted. "The fractions were a little bit slower than I anticipated, but they've been running about like that. Martin went a little wide on the first turn but I think he didn't want [trainer Ron] Ellis' horse [Majestic City] to outrun him to the first turn.
"I don't know what happened [with Rousing Sermon] there, but we'll check him out and see," he said of his other entrant in the race.
When asked about Blueskiesnrainbows targeting the Grade 1, $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap on March 8 as a long-range goal, Hollendorfer added, "I think it's very possible that we should be thinking about that."
Bred in Virginia by Edward P. Evans, Blueskiesnrainbows improved his resume to 23-7-3-3, $669,552. He's more than earned back his purchase price of $33,000 as a Keeneland September yearling.
The five-year-old chestnut is out of the Deputy Minister mare Cho Cho San and counts as a half-sister stakes heroine Cho Cho Cat. Blueskiesnrainbows' second dam is multiple Grade 2 queen Dance Colony, who placed in a pair of Grade 1 contests while on track and also produced Grade 2 runner-up Big Prairie and multiple Grade 3-placed Gold Colony.
Dance Colony is herself a half-sibling to Grade 1-winning sire Another Review as well as Grade 1 victress and black-type producer No Review. She is a full sister to the dam of Grade 2 heroine Promenade Girl and stakes vixen Dattts Awesome.
Others of note in this female family include multiple Group 1-scoring sire Lyphard, multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire Urbane and Grade/Group 1 queen Nobiliary.