DEL MAR, Calif. -- Global Hunter pulled a 14-1 upset in a bizarre running of the $350,000 Eddie Read Stakes on Saturday, a race marred by an incident on the first turn when Thorn Song bolted while leading.
Global Hunter, a 6-year-old Argentine-bred whose only previous win in this country was a restricted turf stakes at Santa Anita last fall, stalked Monterey Jazz to the final turn before taking the lead in early stretch.
Global Hunter ($30.20) held off a late threat from Awesome Gem to win the Grade 1 Read by a length. Whatsthescript closed steadily through the stretch to finish third. Monterey Jazz, the even-money favorite, faded in the stretch to finish fifth.
None of the runners were badly affected by the incident on the first turn, which occurred when Thorn Song was leading by two lengths. Thorn Song ducked to the outside and was pulled up by jockey Mike Smith.
Trainer Mike Mitchell was at a loss to explain Thorn Song's antics. "He just bolted," he said. "He was where I wanted him to be. I opened up the blinkers and maybe he needs them closed more. That's all I can think of."
Global Hunter ran 1 1/8 miles on turf in 1:46.24. Trained by A.C. Avila for the partnership of Monte Pyle and Shawn Turner, Global Hunter earned $210,000. A three-time stakes winner in Argentina in 2007, Global Hunter has made 12 starts in this country since April 2008. Prior to the Read, his best result in a graded stakes was a second in the Grade 3 Thunder Road Handicap at Santa Anita in February. He won the Lure Stakes at Santa Anita last October.
Earlier this month, Global Hunter finished eighth in the Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup on the main track. For the Read, Avila waned jockey Corey Nakatani to keep Global Hunter in a steady pace. "I told Corey, 'He doesn't have a kick,' " Avila said. "He keeps going the same way. He had plenty of horse."
Global Hunter has won 7 of 25 starts and $455,365. He gave Avila, a 55-year-old native of Brazil, his biggest win in the United States.
Trainer Craig Dollase had mixed results with his runners -- Monterey Jazz and Awesome Gem. Monterey Jazz inherited the lead from Thorn Song, set fractions o f24.02 and 47.18 seconds, and had a five-length advantage with three furlongs remaining.
Monterey Jazz, ridden by Tyler Baze, was passed in early stretch and was quickly out of contention. Awesome Gem, who was third in the 2007 Breeders' Cup Classic at Monmouth Park, was still sixth at the eighth pole.
"Tyler said the horse took hold and ran off," Dollase said of Monterrey Jazz. "It was weird how it came about. It benefited Awesome Gem. He ran his race."
Excessive Blend takes Fleet Treat
Excessive Blend won her stakes debut in Saturday's $100,000 Fleet Treat Stakes for 3-year-old statebred fillies, but left trainer Carla Gaines convinced that there is further potential for improvement.
"She's a talented filly, but not really very focused," Gaines said.
Ridden by Mike Smith, Excessive Blend ($12.60) held off a late threat from Chalula One to win by a length. Ultra Blend finished third in the field of eight. Excessive Blend ran seven furlongs in 1:23.43, after stalking pacesetter Dani Reese through early fractions of 23.33 and 46.59 seconds.
Owned by breeder Warren Williamson, Excessive Blend has won 2 of 4 starts and $102,600. She won her debut at Santa Anita in March, but was second and third in allowance race at the Hollywood Park spring-summer meeting.