BRANDOTHEBARTENDER POSTS UPSET IN CALIFORNIA FLAG HANDICAP

RALLIES FROM FOURTH TO DEFEAT ODDS-ON RICHARD’S BOY BY A LENGTH

ARCADIA, Calif. (Oct. 20, 2018)–Brandothebartender, claimed for $40,000 three races back, took advantage of a record-setting pace and rallied from next to last in a field of five to upset 3-10 favorite Richard’s Boy and capture Saturday’s $100,000 California Flag Handicap by a length under 120 pounds and Joe Talamo.

A five-year-old Tribal Rule gelding, Brandothebartender covered five furlongs on a firm turf course in 55.11 seconds, breaking the former mark of 55:96 set by the seven-year-old Forest Chatter under 125 pounds on Sept. 29, 2018.

Richard’s Boy, highweight under 127 pounds, was second by three-quarters of a length under Flavien Prat after enduring pressure from 5-2 second choice Eddie Haskell and 31-1 outsider Mason B, producing fractions of 20.94 and 43.22. Eddie Haskell finished third, followed by Mason B and P Club. Tribalist was scratched.

“We had a sneaky feeling he was going to run well today,” said Craig Dollase, who trains the bay for Flawless Racing, Flanagan and Jarvis. “It was a quick turnaround (from his last start, Oct. 14) but he has trained really well in between today and last week.

“Joe rode him really well and the pace scenario really helped us. This horse tries and he’s very consistent. We got the job done.”

Not so for Richard’s Boy, although trainer Peter Miller took the defeat in stride and said it would be on to the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint Nov. 3 at Churchill Downs if all goes well.

“When you’ve got horses from Los Al (Los Alamitos) coming over, sending for their life, you’re going to get that kind of pace, but that’s horse racing,” he said. “This sets him up good for the Breeders’ Cup. When you’ve got horses on you from either side and their whole game is just to try and beat you and not win the race, what are you going to do?

“We’ll just train him up to the Breeders’ Cup. This will set him up good. He’s fit now. He’s ready.”

Brandothebartender earned $60,000 for the victory, his fifth from 21 career starts. He has now earned $296,301. The winner paid $16.40 as the third choice in the field of California-breds three years old and older.

Note:  Today’s California Flag Handicap is named for the winner of the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Sprint, which was run here at Santa Anita.  Bred and owned by Keith and Barbara Card’s Hi Card Ranch, California Flag a gelded son of Avenue of Flags, was trained by Brian Koriner and would go on to earn more than $1.2 million.  The California Flag Handicap is part of the lucrative Golden State Series for California-bred or sired horses.