BIRDLOVER OVERCOMES YEAR ABSENCE TO WIN $75,000 WISHING WELL STAKES GATE TO WIRE UNDER TRUJILLO; O’NEILL TRAINEE WINS BY HALF LENGTH AND GETS 6 ½ FURLONGS DOWN HILLSIDE TURF IN 1:13.22

 

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 8, 2015)–Idle one day shy of a year, trainer Doug O’Neill’s Birdlover broke sharply from her outside post under Elvis Trujillo and registered an impressive gate to wire win in Sunday’s $75,000 Wishing Well Stakes for older fillies and mares at 6 ½ furlongs down Santa Anita’s hillside turf course. A 5-year-old English-bred mare, Birdlover prevailed by a half length and got the distance in 1:13.22.

Second, beaten a head in last year’s Wishing Well on Feb. 9, 2014, Birdlover was dispatched at 3-1 in a field of seven and paid $8.60, $4.80 and $3.20.

“It was exactly the trip we wanted,” said Trujillo, who engineered splits of 22.41, 45.17 and 1:07.35. “I know she has a lot of speed. I wanted to save her as much as I could for the stretch and it was a perfect race.”

Owned by Cseplo, Keh, Kramer and W.C. Racing, Birdlover got her second win from four tries down the hill and improved her overall mark to 14-4-5-0. With the winner’s share of $47,100, she improved her earnings to $219,535.

“She’s trained so good and she’s just so honest,” said O’Neill. “This is really a credit to (assistant) Steve Rothblum, because there was talk of retiring her. She had fractured her hock (upper hind leg) and she had done so much for us and we could have retired her without having surgery. She was sound enough to do that. But Steve said we should operate and try to bring her back.

“I think she’s a miler. We had her in the (one mile turf) Megahertz, but she was the only also eligible and we didn’t get in. She’s got that kind of ability, but this race came up and she was doing well.”

Breaking from the rail with Flavien Prat, Indecise saved ground early, split horses while four-wide a furlong from home and was gradually gaining on the winner at the wire. Idle since Jan. 19, 2014, she was off at 12-1 and paid $9.80 and $4.40.

Fanticola, who was the second choice at 2-1, sat close to the pace with Martin Garcia and completed the trifecta, finishing 1 ¼ lengths behind Indecise. Fanticola paid $2.80 to show.

Racing resumes at Santa Anita on Thursday and will continue through Monday, Presidents’ Day. First post on Thursday is 1 p.m. Admission gates open at 11 a.m.