ARCADIA, Calif. (March 31, 2016)–With favored Whiskey Ticket battling back to his inside, El Huerfano proved best late as he registered a hard-earned head victory under Victor Espinoza in Thursday’s $60,000 allowance feature at Santa Anita. Trained by Peter Miller, El Huerfano, winless in his last nine starts, covered a flat mile in 1:37.05.
“A win is a win,” Espinoza cracked, after being reminded there was no where near the $10,000,000 that he pursued in winning last Saturday’s Dubai World Cup aboard California Chrome. “I thought it was going to be very close, but when the other horse came to me, my horse came back on again.”
Off as the 2-1 second choice in a field of six older horses, El Huerfano sat a close third, just to the outside of Whiskey Ticket at the quarter pole, took charge a furlong out and repelled a gallant late surge from “Whiskey” to prevail, paying $6.80, $3.20 and $2.40.
Owned by Wachtel Stable and Gary Barber, the 4-year-old California-bred colt by Tannersmyman was making his third start for Miller and picked up $46,800 for the win, increasing his earnings to $145,527. He now has four wins from 15 career starts.
Trained by Bob Baffert, Whiskey Ticket, a winner of the Grade III Illinois Derby in his second career start on April 18, had been idle since well beaten in the Ohio Derby on June 20. Ridden by Martin Pedroza, he was off at 6-5 and paid $3.20 and $2.40.
Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, Tribal jewel saved ground throughout and ran on for third money, finishing 2 ¾ lengths behind Whiskey Ticket. Off at 9-2, Tribal Jewel paid $2.20 to show.
Fractions on the race were 23.11, 46.40, 1:11.10 and 1:23.82.
First post time for an eight race card on Friday at Santa Anita is at 1 p.m. Admission gates open at 11 a.m.