ARCADIA, Calif. (June 5, 2016)–Represented by the red-hot connections of Flavien Prat and Phil D’Amato, heavily favored Hunt pounced on pacesetter Act a furlong from home and motored to a convincing 1 ½ length win in Sunday’s $75,000 Siren Lure Stakes, which was run at 6 ½ furlongs down Santa Anita’s unique hillside turf course–which will undergo a complete surface renovation following today’s races.
Santa Anita’s current Spring Meet leading trainer with 17 wins, D’Amato won yesterday’s Grade I Shoemaker Mile (turf) with Midnight Storm and he’s also the track’s leading stakes winning trainer with four added money wins. Prat, who’s one-up on Rafael Bejarano with 23 wins at the meet, has won 10 races on turf in the last eight racing days, with four of them coming in stakes.
“I love this hill, but Hunt loves it too,” said Prat of his Irish-bred equine companion, with whom he’s now won three consecutive hillside races. “He’s a really nice horse and he’s getting better and better with every race. He did everything right today.”
With the Siren Lure serving as his first stakes win, Hunt now has four wins from his last five races, all them down the hill. Dispatched as the 3-5 favorite in a field of five 3-year-olds and up, Hunt paid $3.40, $2.40 and $2.10. Owned by Michael House, the 4-year-old gelding is now 16-5-5-2. With the winner’s share of $47,400, he increased his earnings to $221,729.
“He’s so effective around this one turn, sprinting on the turf, so I’d really like to focus on keeping him here and try to get him in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint,” said D’Amato. “I’ll need something before that, so maybe the Eddie D. (Grade III, 6 ½ furlongs down the hillside turf on Sept. 30) would give us a graded opportunity.”
Ridden by Tiago Pereira, Toowindytohaulrox sat third in behind Act and the winner approaching the dirt crossing at the top of the lane and proved second best, finishing 2 ¼ lengths in front of Act. Off at 9-2, “Toowindy” paid $3.60 and $2.10.
Ridden by Gary Stevens, Act bounced out of his outside post position and showed the way to the top of the lane before tiring to finish third, 3 ¾ lengths in front of the lone filly in the lineup, Miss Double d’Oro. Off at 7-2, Act paid $2.20 to show.
Fractions on the race were 21.58, 43.74 and 1:06.61.
The Siren Lure was run as the first of nine races on Sunday. Racing resumes at Santa Anita on Thursday, with first post time at 1:30 p.m. Admission gates open at 11:30 a.m.