PRIZE EXHIBIT GAME LATE & WINS GRADE II, $200,000 MONROVIA STAKES BY A NOSE UNDER GONZALEZ; CASSIDY TRAINEE GETS 6 ½ FURLONGS DOWN HILLSIDE TURF IN 1:12.96

 

TWO-DAY PICK SIX CARRYOVER OF $378,187 INTO THURSDAY, TOTAL PICK SIX POOL SHOULD EXCEED $1.5 MILLION

 

ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 3, 2016)–In her first-ever try down Santa Anita’s unique hillside turf course, English-bred Prize Exhibit proved gamest late, as she prevailed by a nose over Shrinking Violet to take Sunday’s Grade II, $200,000 Monrovia Stakes under Santiago Gonzalez. Trained by Jim Cassidy and owned by Deron Pearson’s DP Racing, Prize Exhibit got the 6 ½ furlongs on turf in 1:12.96.

“She’s a superior horse,” said Gonzalez. “She runs better races than these other horses regularly and she showed her class today. She has a lot of speed. I can wait, and wait with her and I know she can still get there with her speed.”

A close fourth after the first half mile, the winner hit the front crossing the dirt at the top of the lane and wouldn’t be denied late as she battled head and head with the runner-up the final eighth. Off at 7-1 in a field of 11 older fillies and mares, she paid $17.80, $7.60 and $4.20.

A 4-year-old filly by Showcasing, Prize Exhibit was most recently sixth, beaten 3 ½ lengths in the Grade I Matriarch Stakes at Del Mar Nov. 29. The Monrovia is her third graded stakes win and her sixth overall victory from 20 starts. With the winner’s share of $120,000, she improved her earnings to $530,800.

“I didn’t think she’d have any problem (coming down the hillside turf) unless she started idling, trying to figure out what the heck this is all about, which she has a tendency to do,” said Cassidy. “I was a little upset we were that close, but when it opened up for her, he rode her perfect and she’s a hard horse to ride. You could see down the lane she was out there in the clear and kind of looking around, so she can be difficult, but she got it done.”

Ridden by Kent Desormeaux, Shrinking Violet was well back in eighth position after a half and rallied inside the winner turning for home, but was just outrun late. Off at 6-1, she finished a half length in front of favored Ageless and paid $7.40 and $4.00.

“She’s not fond of soft ground,” said Desormeaux. “I think she ran her eyeballs out, but she got beat a nose in a situation she doesn’t care to be in. Not to mention, she’s been of a while (Sept. 14) so I don’t think it would have mattered as much if she was racing with one (race) under her belt.”

Ridden by Julien Leparoux, Ageless came off a pair of turf sprint stakes wins at Woodbine and Keeneland and was making a steady late gain wide-out but never threatened the winner. Off at 6-5, she paid $2.60 to show.

“No real excuses,” said Leparoux. “The course is the same for everybody. She had a little layoff (Oct. 9) but she ran her race. It looks like she came back good and hopefully, she’ll be good for the rest of the year.”

Fractions on the race were 21.33, 43.52 and 1:06.64.

Racing resumes at Santa Anita on Thursday, and there is a hefty two-day Pick Six carryover of $378,187. Thursday’s total Pick Six pool should exceed $1.5 million. First post time for an eight-race card on Thursday is at 12:30 p.m. Admission gates open at 10:30 a.m.