ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 15, 2015)–With scintillating fractions to run at, favored Bench Warrant flew from far off the pace to take Sunday’s $75,000 Baffle Stakes by a neck under Tyler Baze, as he bested seven 3-year-old rivals in getting 6 ½ furlongs down Santa Anita’s hillside turf course in 1:12.43.
Trained by John Sadler, Bench Warrant was last as the field crossed over the main track at the top of the stretch, and with pacesetter Serbian Syclone setting suicidal splits of 20.91, 42.20 and 1:06.15, the complexion of the race changed completely with a sixteenth of a mile to run.
“When they were 15 or 20 lengths in front of me, I knew how fast they were going up front,” said Baze. “I just had to have confidence. Even though they were spread out turning for home and it got tight for a second, he went right through there and made the hole we were running for. He’s only going to get better with more distance.”
Bench Warrant, who was a close fourth in the Grade II, seven furlong San Vicente Stakes Feb. 1, was off at 9-5 and paid $5.80, $3.80 and $2.60. A 3-year-old Kentucky-bred colt by Street Boss, Bench Warrant got his third win from six starts and with the winner’s share of $48,300, he increased his earnings to $177,060.
“When I saw that first quarter in 20 and four, I felt pretty good because this horse has a lot of heart,” said Sadler assistant, Larry Benavidez. “We’d like to keep him running down the hill, but I don’t think there’s anything for him for a while…I’d say he’s still getting better at racing. He’s a neat horse.”
Ridden by Flavien Prat, Pain and Misery was mid-pack early and made the lead a sixteenth out when Serbian Syclone faltered but could not hold off the winner and finished second, one length in front of Diamond Majesty. Off at 10-1, Pain and Misery paid $8.60 and $4.60.
Diamond Majesty, with Rafael Bejarano up, rallied from far back to be third, finishing 1 ½ lengths in front of Jazzy Josh, who had been forwardly placed early. Off at 9-2, Diamond Majesty paid $3.60 to show.
There was just one winning ticket in Sunday’s Pick Six and it was worth $118,674. The ticket was purchased in Nevada, according to Santa Anita Director of Pari-Mutuels Randy Hartzell.
First post time on Presidents’ Day, Monday, is at 12:30 p.m. Admission gates open at 10:30 a.m. Santa Anita will offer one dollar beers, hot dogs and sodas throughout the day.