FIVE YEAR OLD BY GAME PLAN EYES $4 MILLION LONGINES BREEDERS’ CUP TURF NOV. 5
ARCADIA, Calif. (Oct. 2, 2106)–Forwardly placed throughout, California-bred Ashleyluvssugar got a perfect stalking trip under Gary Stevens and went on to an impressive half length win in the Grade II, $200,000 John Henry Turf Championship at Santa Anita. Trained by Peter Eurton, the 5-year-old gelding by Game Plan got 1 ¼ miles on turf in 1:58.35. A gate to wire winner of the Grade II, 1 3/8 miles turf Del Mar Handicap on Aug. 20, “Ashley” notched his second consecutive win and his fourth from seven starts over the Santa Anita lawn.
Breaking from post position six in a field of 10 and with the temporary inner rail set at 10 feet, Ashleyluvssugar sat a controlled second to longshot El Huerfano the entire trip until assuming command three sixteenths of a mile from home.
“This is his kind of track,” said Eurton. “You gotta think this horse is just full of heart. When he’s healthy like he is right now, he’s great…The six hole helped us out a lot, we got to see what was going on to the inside of us. There was a little bumping going on at the beginning so Gary put him out there wide and it was easier for him to relax.”
Owned by his breeders, Sharon Alesia, Bran Jam Stable and Ciaglia Racing, LLC, Ashleyluvssugar was the third choice in the wagering at 3-1 and paid $8.80, $5.00 and $3.40. He now has eight wins from 17 starts and will make his next start in the $4 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (1 ½ miles) at Santa Anita on Nov. 5. (With the John Henry winner’s share of $120,000, he now has earnings of $847,504).
“I’m excited about the Breeders’ Cup,” said Stevens. “He’s stepping up in company but he loves a mile and a half. This was pretty easy on him and he was looking for even more room to run pulling up. This was a great race for him. The speed was down on the inside and it set up nicely. He’s better with a horse in front of him. He’s not very big but he’s full of energy, does his job and he loves Santa Anita.”
In a three-horse charge for second money, longshot Texas Ryano, with Joe Talamo up, prevailed by a nose over Twentytwentyvision and Flavien Prat.
Off at 14-1, Texas Ryano paid $15.80 and $10.00.
Twentytwentyvision was a half-length better than 5-2 favorite Metaboss and paid $4.80 to show.
Fractions on the race were 23.55, 46.93, 1:10.96 and 1:34.83.