RISING STAR ASHLEYLUVSSUGAR OUTRUNS FAVORED FINNEGANS WAKE TO WIN GRADE II, $200,000 SAN LUIS REY STAKES BY 2 ¼ LENGTHS; STEVENS, EURTON COMBINE TO WIN MILE AND A HALF TURF MARATHON IN 2:25.78

 

PICK SIX CARRYOVER OF $92,672 INTO SUNDAY, TOTAL PICK SIX POOL SHOULD EXCEED $500,000

 

ARCADIA, Calif. (March 21, 2015)–In his first-ever graded stakes assignment, California-bred Ashleyluvssugar out-dueled heavily favored Finnegans Wake to win Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 San Luis Rey Stakes by 2 ¼ lengths under Gary Stevens. Trained by Peter Eurton, Ashleyluvssugar bested seven other older horses in negotiating 1 ½ miles on turf in 2:25.78.

Well back in fifth position into the Club House turn, Ashleyluvssugar, who came off of an allowance win going 1 1/8 miles on turf Feb. 5, raced as a team with the favorite three-wide around the far turn and when Stevens went to his left handed stick at the furlong pole, the 4-year-old gelding by Game Plan seemingly found another gear and spurted clear.

“I watched his last race, when Mike (Smith, who was away today to ride at Turfway Park) was on him and he battled back then too,” said Stevens. “Those were different kinds of horses but he really came back for Mike when he went left handed with the whip. I noticed he really responded for Mike last time and he did the same for me today.

“He relaxed like a dream for me. I knew if he would relax, we’d have a good chance. I was loaded going into the (far) turn, a horse came up to our outside, he got headed but he’s tough, he likes a fight.”

Owned and bred by Sharon Alesia, Bran Jam Stable and Ciaglia Racing, LLC, Ashleyluvssugar was off at 5-1 and paid $13.20, $4.80 and $3.00. In getting his first stakes win, he notched his fifth win overall from 10 starts. With the winner’s share of $120,000, he increased his earnings to $335,504.

“I just told Gary to keep him relaxed,” said Eurton. “He watched tapes on him and he talked to Mike about him. The question was just whether he’d just be too keen early…It was just an amazing ride. We’ll wait now for the San Juan Capistrano (Grade III, 1 ¾ miles on turf June 28).”

Ridden by Victor Espinoza and in search of his fourth consecutive graded stakes win on turf, Finnegans Wake sat just outside the winner around the far turn and into the stretch and appeared to have him measured, but ended up second best, finishing second, 1 ¼ lengths in front of Power Foot.

Off at 3-5, Finnegans Wake paid $2.40 and $2.10.

“He was a little bit flat today, all the way, as soon as he came out of the gate,” said Espinoza. “He was a little lazy, not really running, he was empty all the way…I got next to the winner and was hoping I could get some company and cruise a little bit more, but it’s one of those things. It was not his day.”

Ridden by Flavien Prat, Power Foot sat a joint third with Raise Your Gaze around the Club House turn, made the lead going to the quarter pole while saving ground but was not match for the top two through the drive. Off at 5-1, he paid $2.80 to show.

Fractions on the race were 23.43, 45.66, 1:10.29, 1:35.34 and 2:01.36.

There is a Pick Six carryover into Sunday at Santa Anita of $92,672 and it’s expected the total Pick Six pool will exceed $500,000.

 

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