ARCADIA, Calif. (May 20, 2016)–Idle since facing the mighty Beholder in late September, California-bred Big Book was all heart late as she prevailed by a head under Martin Pedroza to win Friday’s $58,000 allowance feature at Santa Anita. Owned and bred in California by George Krikorian and conditioned by Tim Yakteen, Big Book covered a mile and a sixteenth in 1:44.76.
Racing in the middle of a three-horse spread leaving the three furlong pole, Big Book appeared to ease back for several strides but when longshot Slip of the Tongue tired suddenly to her outside, Pedroza angled three-wide turning for home and in a rousing stretch duel, outdid runner-up Savannah Sky.
Off at 5-2 with Pedroza in a field of eight fillies and mares three and up (six of which were Kentucky-bred), Big Book paid $7.60, $3.40 and $3.00. Pedroza, who was joined in the Winner’s Circle by his 21-year-old son, Tyler, notched his second win of the afternoon.
When asked if he was concerned about overcoming crowded conditions, Yakteen responded, “I was concerned, but she overcame my training. We were hoping for a good, clean race and hoping this could be a steppingstone to bigger things. She’s got a lotta heart and she’s a racehorse, for sure.”
As for Krikorian, who also serves as a commissioner on the California Horse Racing Board, he was understandably elated with Big Book’s return to action.
“It’s nice to have her back,” he said. “She got a little tired, but she tried really hard.”
A well beaten fifth to three-time Eclipse Award winning Beholder in the Grade I Zenyatta Stakes at Santa Anita Sept. 26, Big Book, a 4-year-old filly by the Dynaformer stallion Mr. Big (also owned by Krikorian), got her first win in open company and improved her overall mark to 6-3-1-0. With the winner’s share of $45,240, Big Book increased her earnings to $139,640.
Trained by Richard Baltas and ridden by Rafael Bejarano, Savannah Sky moved into contention leaving the half mile pole but proved second best as she finished 1 ¼ lengths in front of Light Striker. The second choice in the wagering at 5-2, Savannah Sky paid $3.40 and $2.80.
Ridden by Drayden Van Dyke, Light Striker, who was a distant last with a quarter mile to run, finished with a rush to be third, 1 ½ lengths in front of Swissarella. Off at 63-1, she paid $9.40 to show.
Ridden by Mike Smith, Street Surrender, who added blinkers today, appeared rank early and faded badly to finish last as the 8-5 favorite.
Fractions on the race were 23.17, 46.42, 1:10.76 and 1:37.70.
Santa Anita will open early, at 7 a.m. on Saturday, Preakness Day, for simulcast wagering in the Paddock Room, located under the Grandstand. First live race post time for an 11-race card on Saturday is at 12 noon.