ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 9, 2015)–U S Citizen rallied on the far outside to take Friday’s $58,000 allowance feature by 1 ½ lengths under Kent Desormeaux. Trained by Doug O’Neill, the 6-year-old gelding by Proud Citizen covered 6 ½ furlongs down Santa Anita’s hillside turf course in 1:13.04.
Breaking from post five in a field of seven older horses, U S Citizen was unhurried early and was next to last while five-wide crossing the dirt at the top of the stretch behind fractions of 22.22, 44.52 and 1:07.18.
“It’s such an adrenaline race,” said Desormeaux in reference to negotiating the unique hillside layout. “He broke a bit aggressively but once I got him covered he calmed down. That was all the way around the left-handed bend. After getting over the dirt, I presented him and he took off. It was at that point that I became a spectator–just like the fans and (I) was watching the (Infield) jumbo-tron.”
The third choice in the betting at 3-1, U S Citizen paid $8.40, $3.80 and $2.60. Owned by Dennis O’Neill and Joseph Besecker, U S Citizen improved his overall record to 21-3-6-4, and with the winner’s share of $34,800, hiked his earnings to $168,635.
“He’s so honest, this horse,” said O’Neill. “He likes the hill. Sometimes, on that crossover from the turf to the dirt, horses will overreact, but he just skips over it. It was beautiful seeing Kent get along with him so well.”
Ridden by Mike Smith, 9-5 favorite Skylander was just up for the place, finishing a head in front of Conscience and Drayden Van Dyke. Skylander paid $3.40 and $2.60.
The second choice at 2-1, Conscience paid $2.60 to show.
First post time at Santa Anita on Saturday is at 12:30 p.m. Admission gates open at 10:30 a.m.