POTRERO GRANDE STAKES | PURSE: $150,000 | 4-YEAR-OLDS & UP | GRADE 2 | 6 1/2 FURLONGS
Two races after Beholder coasted in the Santa Anita Oaks, Jimmy Creed gave owner Spendthrift Farm, trainer Richard Mandella and jockey Garrett Gomez their second major score on Saturday's card in the Grade 2, $150,250 Potrero Grande at Santa Anita. Sidelined by a cough since his victory in the Malibu on December 26, Jimmy Creed was dispatched as the 6-5 choice here, and duly obliged.
As expected, Comma to the Top blazed to the front, but Jimmy Creed was perched right on his flank through an opening quarter in :22. The favorite drew abreast of the leader through a half-mile in a torrid :44 3/5, and soon kicked away. Unbridled's Note, who had been third to Jimmy Creed in the Malibu, gave game chase down the lane, but could not threaten to reverse the form.
Jimmy Creed held a comfortable three-quarter-length advantage while finishing 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:15 on the fast main track. The popular winner paid $4.40, $2.80 and $2.40.
"Richard [Mandella] just told me to let him out of the gate, let him be happy, let him get up on his feet and see what happens," Gomez recapped. "He didn't want me to take too much away from him so I didn't, and he traveled beautifully. I was able to set the bit up in his mouth and he traveled well all the way around.
"He actually made the lead earlier than I wanted, but when I told him 'let's go,' he put his head down and his ears down and did what he was supposed to do.
"Today, things were more to his liking, I actually had the race in my hands the whole time, it was an easier race. He can get lazy when he makes the lead so I have to keep him focused. Even today, when he saw the cameras as we crossed the finish he shied away from them a bit. He's a young horse, and he's only getting better, he has a bright future."
"He had a perfect trip," Mandella said. "He had a great post on the outside this time and he broke good. It looked like it was meant to be."
Apriority reported home another 2 1/4 lengths adrift of Unbridled's Note in third. Comma to the Top faded to fourth, and Camp Victory and Second City rounded out the order under the wire. Haverhill and Italian Rules were scratched.
Jimmy Creed advanced his record to 8-4-2-1, $403,000. A maiden winner at Hollywood Park on Independence Day, Jimmy Creed next captured an allowance at Del Mar before bowing by a neck in his stakes debut in the August 31 El Cajon at the same track. A close third in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship on October 6, Jimmy Creed failed to muster a rally in the Breeders' Cup Sprint over a track playing kindly to speed. He rebounded in the Malibu and has now won two in a row.
Bred in Kentucky by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings, Jimmy Creed was a $900,000 Keeneland September yearling. He was produced by La Brea winner Hookedonthefeelin, a daughter of Citidancer, making him a half-brother to multiple Grade 1 queen Pussycat Doll and the stakes-placed Blowing Kisses. He's also a full brother to stakes winner Funny Feeling. This is the family of Grade 3 winner Potomac Bend.
Mandella mentioned the Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park on May 27 as his next significant goal.
"That's something we'd take pretty serious," the Hall of Famer said of the historic one-turn mile. "I think he would [go further than sprints].
"We missed some races [due to a cough after the Malibu], so this [Potrero Grande] was the obvious thing.
"The Churchill Downs Stakes [over seven furlongs on Kentucky Derby Day, May 4] is another possibility. He missed the Strub due to a cough so we pointed to this and we'll see if it can carry us to the Met Mile."