BETTYS BAMBINO HOLDS OFF LIL BIT O’FUN TO WIN GRADE III, $100,000 DAYTONA STAKES BY A HALF LENGTH UNDER GARCIA; EURTON TRAINEE SECOND CHOICE AT 3-1 IN FIELD OF NINE AT 6 ½ FURLONGS DOWN HILLSIDE TURF

 

PICK SIX CARRYOVER OF $95,175 INTO WEDNESDAY, TOTAL PICK SIX POOL COULD EXCEED $500,000

 

LONGSHOT HARLINGTON’S ROSE TAKES $75,000 KALOOKAN QUEEN WITH TALAMO UP

 

ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 28, 2014)–Trainer Peter Eurton’s Red-hot Bettys Bambino made his stakes debut a successful one on Sunday at Santa Anita, as the 4-year-old California-bred gelding by Unusual Heat took the Grade III, $100,000 Daytona Stakes by a half length under Martin Garcia, negotiating 6 ½ furlongs down the hillside turf course in 1:12.49.

In winning his third consecutive race down Santa Anita’s unique Camino Real turf course, Bettys Bambino was ridden confidently by Garcia, who broke from post position seven and was fifth in a field of nine crossing the dirt at the top of the stretch.

“He loves this course and who knows, he might like a mile, but we never really had the opportunity,” said Eurton. “But he does love the downhill and I don’t think we’ll ever change that…We’re just kind of going to enjoy this one right now and see what comes up at a later date.”

The second choice at 3-1, Bettys Bambino paid $8.00, $4.00 and $3.00. Bred and owned by Sharon Alesia, Bran Jam Stable and Joseph Ciaglia, Bettys Bambino got his fourth win from five tries down the hill and his fifth overall win from nine lifetime starts. With the winner’s share of $60,000, he improved his earnings to $258,036.

For his part, Garcia played the Daytona in considerable pain.

“My horse hit me in the head and then he hit me in the right knee too against the (starting) gate,” said Garcia. “He was leaning on my knee that was in between him and the gate. In the moment, the win was just exciting with the adrenaline. Now…I just need to go to the doctor to get checked out.”

Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, Lil Bit O’Fun tracked the winner crossing the dirt and proved second best, finishing 1 ½ lengths in front of favored Sweet Swap. Off at 4-1, he paid $5.20 and $3.20.

The solid favorite at 6-5, Sweet Swap broke from the rail and made the lead a furlong out after laying close to the pace, but tired late to finish third under Corey Nakatani. A four-time winner over the course, he paid $2.40 to show.

“I was in a garden spot,” said Nakatani. “I thought I had a ton of horse and I just got out-kicked today.”

There is a carryover into Wednesday’s Pick Six of $195,175, and it’s expected the total Pick Six pool on New Year’s Eve could reach $500,000. First post time for an eight-race card is at 12:30 p.m.

 

LONGSHOT HARLINGTON’S ROSE TAKES $75,000 KALOOKAN QUEEN STAKES AT 6 ½ FURLONGS

 

Longshot Harlington’s Rose wheeled into the stretch four-deep and ran down favorites Awesome Baby and Tribal Gal to take the $75,000 Kalookan Queen Stakes by 1 ¼ lengths under Joe Talamo. Fifth turning for home, Harlington’s Rose, trained by Steve Knapp, ran into splits of 21.66, 44 flat, 1:08.90 and came home 6 ½ furlongs in 1:15.48.

Off at 17-1 in a field of eight fillies and mares, Harlington’s Rose paid $37.60, $12.60 and $8.60.  In her first stakes win, she improved her overall mark to 18-3-5-0 and with the winner’s share of $60,000, she increased her earnings to $277,680 for owners Halasz, Johnson, Newhart and partners.

“She’s been training as good as she possibly could,” said Knapp. “In her last race at Del Mar (five furlong turf allowance on Nov. 22), she was blocked from the sixteenth pole to the wire and she still only got beat 1 ¾ lengths. She’s a good filly.”

Talamo, who got his second win of the day in the Kalookan Queen, was happy to get acquainted with the 3-year-old California-bred filly by Harlington.

“It’s my first time on this filly,” he said. “She was real classy. She broke well and she put me in a good spot early on. We had a great trip the whole way around. I got her out the last quarter of a mile and she had a nice turn of foot. Steve just told me ‘Good luck’ before the race.”

The second choice at 5-2, Tribal Gal overhauled 6-5 favorite Awesome Baby coming to the furlong pole and finished 2 ¾ lengths clear of Doinghardtimeagain. Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, Tribal Gal paid $4.20 and $4.00.

Doinghardtimeagain, who was off at 5-1, closed well with Elvis Trujillo and paid $5.40 to show.