ARCADIA, Calif. (July 4, 2017)–If the late Dodger Hall of Famer, Harold “Pee Wee” Reese were still alive, he’d be grinning from ear to ear, as his namesake, a 4-year-old California-bred colt named Pee Wee Reese, stole home today at Santa Anita, taking the track’s closing day Grade III, $100,000 American Stakes by 1 ¾ lengths under Joe Talamo. Trained by Phil D’Amato and owned by his breeder, Nick Alexander, “Pee Wee” scampered a flat mile on turf in a rapid 1:32.26.
“I saw Gary (Stevens, aboard favored Om) was riding to stay with me (heading into the far turn) and I was very happy,” said Talamo, who picked up his third win on the afternoon and his fifth American win in the last seven years. “I was loaded the whole way. I knew we were going pretty quick but this horse had his ears up, doing it pretty easy. The last horse I rode that did that was Obviously (multiple Grade I winner also trained by D’Amato.
Fresh off a big second behind highly regarded What a View in the one mile turf Crystal Water Stakes here on May 20, Pee Wee Reese tried graded stakes competition for the first time today. Off at 5-1 in a field of eight 3-year-olds and up, he paid $12.40, $4.20 and $3.00.
By Tribal Rule and out of Alexander’s Unbridled’s Song mare Bluegrass Belle, Pee Wee Reese is now 9-5-2-0. With the winner’s share of $60,000, he now has earnings of $259,990.
“At the three eighths pole, when (Stevens) was pushing and shoving and we had a length on him, I could see that Joe sensed Om was all-out and he was just trying to give Pee Wee a little breather. When we opened up a little bit of daylight I thought we had a chance but you never know with those fast fractions if someone will come and try to run you down.
“It’s reminiscent of Obviously and it couldn’t have come at a better time. We retired the big guy and we’ve got another nice prospect on our hands.”
D’Amato also related that Alexander, who is also the Chairman of the Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC), watched the race from Montana.
Idle since Nov. 26, multiple graded stakes winner Om, who tracked the winner throughout, could never get on terms and had to settle for second money, 1 ¼ lengths in front of Alert Bay. The heavy favorite at even money, Om paid $2.80 and $2.20.
Handled patiently by Tyler Baze, Alert Bay out-gamed French-bred Flamboyant by a nose for the show. Off at 6-1, Alert Bay paid $3.00.
Fractions on the American, all set by the winner, were 22.13, 45.22, 1:08.50 and 1:20.31.
Racing resumes at Santa Anita with opening day of the track’s 2017 Autumn Meet on Sept. 29. For more information, please visit santaanita.com.