ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 8, 2016)–The “Other Baffert” in a compact field of five older horses, the Bob Baffert-trained Cat Burglar wheeled three-wide turning for home en route to a neck victory in Friday’s $65,000 allowance feature. Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, Cat Burglar blew by favored stablemate Midnight Hawk at the top of the lane and outran runner-up Cyrus Alexander the final three sixteenths while covering one mile in 1:35.54.
“I knew the only speed horses were Midnight Hawk and Cyrus Alexander,” said Bejarano. “I wanted to put him where he was comfortable but I knew that if he didn’t break on the lead, I’d have to make sure he was pretty close.
“I knew that Midnight Hawk didn’t have anything left at the three eighths and I saw Cyrus Alexander take off a little, so I wanted to stay close to him and make one run.”
The second choice at 2-1, Cat Burglar paid $6.40, $3.60 and $2.80. Owned by Michael Lund Petersen, the 6-year-old Unbridled’s Song horse got his fourth win from 14 starts. With the winner’s share of $39,000, he increased his earnings to $334,400.
Ridden by Martin Garcia, Cyrus Alexander sat second to Midnight Hawk to the quarter pole and finished 2 ½ lengths in front of Class Leader for the place. Off at 7-1, “Cy” paid $5.20 and $4.00.
Class Leader was ridden by Kent Desormeaux and finished 6 ¾ lengths in front of a tiring Midnight Hawk. Class Leader paid $4.60 to show.
A winner of the Grade III Sham Stakes in January, 2014, Midnight Hawk had been idle since running a close second in the Grade III Razorback Handicap March 14 at Oaklawn Park.
“He broke a little slow, but he always does that,” said Victor Espinoza, who rode Midnight Hawk. “I had to rush him (to the lead) a little, but he hasn’t run for a long time…He was kind of flat today, but he’s had such a long time off that you don’t know how they’re going to perform…”
Baffert echoed Espinoza’s sentiments, stating, “He was flat today…Terribly flat in the paddock and that’s how he ran.”
With 2014 Horse of the Year California Chrome taking center stage in the Grade II, $200,000 San Pasqual Stakes, Santa Anita will present a nine-race card on Saturday, with first post time at 12:30 p.m. Admission gates will open at 10:30 a.m.