ARCADIA, Calif. (Nov. 1, 2014)–Amaranth got the best of a speed duel around the far turn with favored Velvet Mequite and prevailed by a diminishing half length in Saturday’s Grade III, $100,000 Senator Ken Maddy Stakes at Santa Anita. Ridden by Golden Gate Fields-based Dennis Carr, Amaranth covered 6 ½ furlongs on the main track in 1:16.07.
Originally scheduled to be run at 6 ½ furlongs down the hillside turf course, the Maddy was shifted to the main track due to a half inch of rainfall overnight and into this morning, resulting in eight program scratches–leaving six fillies and mares to run.
Trained by O.J. Jauregui and based at Golden Gate, Amaranth had been idle since running fourth in the Grade III Rancho Bernardo Handicap Aug. 17 at Del Mar. Breaking from the outside, Carr took full advantage of his mount’s speed, going to the front while keeping Velvet Mesquite and Mike Smith penned in at the rail to the five-sixteenths pole.
“Mike Smith’s filly kind of ran up inside me,” said Carr. “I had no choice but to let her out a bit. I had to let her out to make her relax, if that makes sense, to get away from the other filly…She felt the number four horse (Velvet Mesquite) come up on her before I did…I’m not going to make it easy on Mike, but I’m not going to put him in jeopardy either. I kind of held my ground and then when I got a shot, I let her out.”
The second choice at 5-2, Amaranth paid $7.80, $3.80 and $2.60. Owned by Highland Yard, LLC, Amaranth, a 3-year-old Kentucky-bred filly by Mr. Greeley, got her fourth win from nine starts and with the winner’s share of $60,000, hiked her earnings to $178,820.
“The whole key was the break,” said Jauregui, who notched his first-ever Santa Anita win. “I wanted her to break easy and hopefully get a little breather, and she did that. Down the lane, she kicked on.”
Favored at 2-1, Velvet Mesquite broke from the inside and was a neck off the lead going to the three-eighths pole when Smith eased back in order to angle out.
“The post hurt me,” said Smith. “If I was on the outside, I could have sat outside the speed and then made one run. She’s not fast enough to make the lead though, so instead, I had to use her to make our way to the outside. If I hadn’t done that and just taken back, I would have been stuck. So using her, that hurt us. She ran very well.”
Trained by Blake Heap, Velvet Mesquite finished a length clear of Fanticola and paid $3.80 and $2.60.
Ridden by Joe Talamo, Fanticola made a protracted run from far back to finish third, 7 ¼ lengths in front of Warm Breeze. Off at 5-1, she paid $2.80 to show.
Fractions on the race were 21.58, 44.03 and 1:09.19.