ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 14, 2016)–Follow Me Crev made an eye catching move around Santa Anita’s far turn en route to a resounding 2 ½ length win in Sunday’s $65,000 allowance feature under Flavien Prat and thus stamped himself a candidate for the Grade I, $1 million Santa Anita Handicap on March 12, according to trainer Vladimir Cerin.
“If he comes out of this race well, we’re going to look at the Big Cap and there’s a good chance we’ll run,” said Cerin of the 4-year-old Quality Road gelding who left 4-5 favorite Prospect Park in his wake while collecting his fourth straight win. “I was concerned today because we missed some training with him coming out of his last race (a 1 ¾ length allowance score going 1 1/16 miles on Jan. 9). I got him in a hyperbaric chamber a number of times though, and it really helped him.”
Owned by David and Holly Wilson, Follow Me Crev had been ridden in his last two wins by Alonso Quinonez, but due to travel contingencies returning from Saudi Arabia, Quinonez was replaced this morning by Prat. The second choice in a field of six older horses, Follow Me Crev paid $7.60, $3.00 and $2.40.
“He’s a really smart horse,” said Prat. “I made a move on the far turn and when we went for home, he switched leads and finished really well.”
Claimed nine starts back for $50,000 on May 31, Follow Me Crev improved his overall record to 16-5-3-3. With the winner’s share of $39,000, he increased his earnings to $198,440.
Trained by Clifford Sise and ridden by Kent Desormeaux, Prospect Park, a Grade III winner who was scratched out of Saturday’s Grade II, one mile turf Arcadia Stakes, sat a close second to pacesetter Big Cazanova but was no match for the winner the final sixteenth as he finished 1 ¾ lengths in front of “Big Caz” and paid $2.60 and $2.10.
“We’re hoping this is a perfect setup for the Santa Anita Handicap,” said Sise, whose Prospect Park hadn’t run since finishing third in the Grade II, 1 1/8 miles turf Del Mar Derby on Sept. 6. “He needed this race. He was only 70 or 80 percent (ready) today, so this was perfect.”
Like Prospect Park, Argentine-bred Big Cazanova scratched out of yesterday’s Arcadia to run on the main track today. Ridden by Santiago Gonzalez, Big Cazanova was off at 9-1 and paid $3.20 to show.
Fractions on the race were 23.31, 46.25, 1:10.92 and 1:36.81.
Nominations for the 79th running of the mile and a quarter Santa Anita Handicap close on Feb. 27.
Racing resumes at Santa Anita tomorrow, with a nine-race President’s Day card. First post time is at 12:30 p.m. and admission gates open at 10:30 a.m.