ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 17, 2018)–Under patient handling from an upstart Geovanni Franco, longshot Fault charged home to take Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 Buena Vista Stakes by one length. Trained for the first time by Phil D’Amato, Fault, who was previously based in the Midwest, got a mile on turf in 1:33.49 and won going away.
Sixth in a field of nine older fillies and mares with five sixteenths of a mile to run, Franco saved ground at the rail and rallied just to the inside of tear-away leader Juno to post an impressive victory in her Southern California debut.
“I was trying to get there first,” said the understated Franco, who registered his third consecutive win on the Saturday program. “I knew that if there was a little bit of room, she would do it. She’s a great filly and she had the run in her.”
A Grade III winner on grass at Arlington Park five starts back on Aug. 12, Fault, a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred filly by Blame, came off a fourth place finish in a minor one mile turf stakes at Fair Grounds in New Orleans on Dec. 30.
Off at 12-1, Fault paid $26.20, $13.80 and $8.60.
Owned by Agave Racing Stable and Little Red Feather Racing, Fault picked up her second stakes win and is now 14-4-3-2 overall. With the Buena Vista winner’s share of $120,000, she now has earnings of $318,795.
“I knew she was a very consistent filly and was only getting better back east,” said D’Amato. “She had a bad trip at Fairgrounds but from the very first time I breezed her, I thought, ‘This is a horse I’ve been looking for in this category for quite a while.'”
Ridden by Rajiv Maragh, Thundering Sky saved ground early while attentive to the pace and managed to run down a stubborn Juno late to take the place by a head. Off at 12-1, Thundering Sky paid $14.40 and $9.60.
The longest shot in the field at 55-1 under Joe Talamo, Brazilian-bred Juno was hustled to the lead from the far outside and set sizzling splits of 23.01, 45.75, 1:09.77 and 1:21.83. In an amazing effort, she hung in gamely and prevailed by a half length for third money, returning $15.00 to show.
Irish-bred Madam Dancealot, the 2-1 favorite under Corey Nakatani, was well back off the hot pace but wasn’t able to take advantage of it as she ran fifth, beaten about 2 ½ lengths for the win.
Racing resumes with a nine-race card on Sunday at Santa Anita. First post time is at 12:30 p.m. and admission gates open at 10:30 a.m.