ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 26, 2015)–With speedy Rocket Heat showing the way through uncontested fractions of 21.99, 44.18 and 1:07.74, it appeared he was headed to a front-running victory in Saturday’s Grade III, $100,000 Daytona Stakes, but Toowindytohaulrox collared him 40 yards from the finish and was up to win by a neck under Tiago Pereira, covering 6 ½ furlongs down Santa Anita’s hillside turf in 1:14.26.
Off at 21-1, Toowindytohaulrox, a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred colt by Harlan’s Holiday, paid $44.60, $19.20 and $9.40. Owned by Queen Bee Racing, LLC, he was most recently third, beaten 2 ½ lengths, in the Grade II, 1 1/16 miles turf Seabiscuit Handicap at Del Mar Nov. 27.
“This horse is great down the hill,” said Pereira. “Having him in an outside post is best for him. When he is outside of horses, he’s at his best. When he’s on the inside, not always. He was free today and he made a big run.”
Toowindytohaulrox, who notched his second win from six starts down Santa Anita’s unique hillside layout, improved his overall record to 19-4-3-6. With the winner’s share of $60,000, he improved his earnings to $310,392.
“I wanted them to stay outside, ‘Toowindy’ especially,” said D’Amato, who also saddled runner-up Coastline. “Anytime he’s got to split horses, he just doesn’t like it as much. He likes to be running freely and Tiago bided his time back there, got him widest of all and came with a big run.”
Drawn on the extreme outside in post 14, fellow come-from-behinder Coastline, who was ridden by Tyler Baze, was up for the place, finishing another neck in front of Rocket Heat. Off at 52-1, Coastline paid $46.60 and $20.80.
Off at 41-1, Rocket Heat, who was ridden by Edwin Maldonado, prevailed by a head over The Great War and paid $16.20 to show.
With the 1-2-3 finishers off at odds of 21-1, 52-1 and 41-1, the trifecta paid $10,851.40. Fourth place finisher The Great War, off at 8-1, helped contribute to a superfecta payoff of $24,476.39.
The first of four graded stakes on a blockbuster Opening Day Card, the Daytona was run as the fourth on a nine-race program.