ARCADIA, Calif. -- Losing streaks ended emphatically for Fluke and his trainer Humberto Ascanio in the Grade 3, $100,000 Thunder Road Handicap at Santa Anita on Saturday.
For the 6-year-old horse and his 63-year-old trainer, the win was their first since 2009. Fluke won the Grade 1 Citation Handicap at Hollywood Park in 2009 but was winless in three starts last year. Ascanio won the Grade 2 San Gabriel Handicap here in December 2009 but lost with his next 46 starters until Saturday.
Ascanio swept the exacta in the Thunder Road, finishing second with Proudinsky, the 3-1 favorite.
"It's nice to get that monkey off my back," he said.
Fluke ($8.60) ran a mile on turf in 1:33.77, finishing three-quarters of a length in front of Proudinsky. Victor's Cry, who won the Grade 2 Citation Handicap at Hollywood Park in November, finished third, 1 1/2 lengths behind Fluke, in his first start of 2011. The $1 Ascanio exacta of Fluke and Proudinsky returned $15.10.
Fluke was fourth or fifth for the first half-mile and moved closer to the leaders with a wide move on the turn under jockey Joe Talamo.
"I had a perfect trip," Talamo said. "I was happy with my position."
Talamo has ridden Fluke in his last five starts and said the horse can display quirky habits.
"I think he's better with a target because when he gets the lead, he starts waiting," Talamo said.
A Brazilian-bred by Wild Event, Fluke races for Patricia Bozano. Fluke has won 6 of 15 starts and $457,948. In 2010, he was second in the Grade 1 Frank Kilroe Mile and Arcadia Handicap before being given a layoff of nearly eight months. He was second in an allowance race at Hollywood Park on Nov. 27, his most recent start before the Thunder Road.