VETERAN GELDING WINS RACE NAMED FOR LEGENDARY ‘BALD EAGLE’ FOR THE SECOND TIME
ARCADIA, Calif. (May 28, 2017)–Full of run and fourth at the rail turning for home under Gary Stevens, California-bred Ashleyluvssugar managed to split horses a sixteenth of a mile from home en route to an impressive half length win in Sunday’s Grade II, $200,000 Charles Whittingham Stakes. Trained by Peter Eurton, the 6-year-old Game Plan gelding negotiated a mile and a quarter on turf in 1:58.49, his second win in the race named for racing’s legendary “Bald Eagle.”
In a reversal in tactics from his third place finish going a mile and one half in the Grade II San Luis Rey Stakes on March 25, a race in which he went to the early lead, “Ashley” was taken back and covered up in the early stages by Stevens today.
“I talked to Pete this morning and we were on the same page, we didn’t want to be sitting ducks like last time,” said Stevens. “My horse can’t sustain a long run, but he run a long ways. I pulled on him and he settled for me. They were lined up going down the backside and they were going a fair enough pace for a mile and a quarter. I was hoping for room and I got the split I needed. He just exploded.”
Owned by his breeders, Sharon Alesia, Bran Jam Stable and Ciaglia Racing Stable, LLC, Ashleyluvssugar, who took the 2015 Whittingham at age four, was the 5-2 second choice in a field of 10 three year olds and up, paid $7.00, $3.80 and $3.00.
Out of the Urgent Request mare Ashley’s Folly, Ashleyluvssugar picked up $120,000 for the win, boosting his earnings to $1,289,004. A perfect two for two now at a mile and a quarter on turf, he’s now 22-10-3-4 overall.
“At this point in his career, at his age, I think he’s much better when we can get him covered up and make a run,” said Eurton. “Being on the lead, going this far, at his age, he gets tired. It’s difficult to take all that pressure. As you could see, he was a little keen that first quarter, he’s better off running this way.
“He’s like a little deer, he just keeps on going. He just has amazing lungs to do it, each and every time.”
Ridden by Mario Gutierrez, Frank Conversation sat second most of the trip to pacesetter Patentar and ran gallantly to be second, finishing a head in front of Irish-bred Syntax. Off at 9-1, Frank Conversation paid $7.80 and $4.20.
Syntax, who was far off the early pace, surged through the lane to just miss the place, finishing a nose in front of Liam the Charmer. Ridden by Rafael Bejarano and off at 7-1, Syntax paid $4.60 to show.
Fractions on the race were 23.86, 47.78, 1:11.16 and 1:34.45.
First post time for a special nine-race Memorial Day card at Santa Anita is at 1 p.m. Admission gates open at 11 a.m. For complete racing information, please visit santaanita.com.