ARCADIA, Calif. (Oct. 21, 2017)–Beaten a combined 39 ½ lengths in his last two starts in Oklahoma and West Virginia, Reddam Racing’s homebred B Squared tried a new game Saturday at Santa Anita as he rolled from off the pace to take the $100,000 California Flag Handicap under Mario Gutierrez. Trained by Doug O’Neill, the 3-year-old California-bred colt by Square Eddie got 6 ½ furlongs down the hillside turf course in 1:11.38.
Although he was shortening up out of six consecutive routes, most recently the Grade III Oklahoma Derby on Sept. 24 and the Grade III West Virginia Derby Aug. 5, B Squared was attentive to the early pace while under restraint, was a menacing third a quarter mile from home as he wheeled three-wide at the dirt crossing and won in convincing fashion over a well-meant Richard’s Boy.
“I don’t think we could imagine a better race than that,” said Gutierrez. “He broke nice and sharp and after that, I just tried to manage him…The grass makes a tremendous difference. He’s a Square Eddie, so he’s probably better in sprints but we tried to see (if he could get longer distances) but it didn’t work out for us, so we tried him here.”
Winless in his last five starts, B Squared was off at 7-1 in a field of seven California-bred or sired horses three and up and paid $17.20, $6.00 and $3.40.
Out of the Ten Most Wanted mare Silar Rules, B Squared improved his overall mark to 9-3-2-1 and with the winner’s share of $60,000, increased his earnings to $243,735.
Reddam, who also campaigned Square Eddie with O’Neill, noted that his prize stallion is poised for another big year at stud in 2018.
“Square Eddie will get all of our mares, which is probably in the 30s,” he said. “And maybe just a handful after that. He’s priced ($25,000, live foal) so that not too many people come to him. It’s kind of an odd strategy, but the farm he’s at can only handle so much. If want to breed to him, great, If you don’t, then you have to beat him.”
Richard’s Boy, who was ridden by Flavien Prat, may’ve been an unlucky loser as he bobbled significantly at the break and then sped to the lead with favored Tribalist to his immediate outside. Richard’s Boy opened up a furlong out, but couldn’t keep the winner at bay.
The second choice at 2-1, Richard’s Boy, who finished 1 ¼ lengths in front of Tribalist, paid $4.20 and $2.40.
Ridden by Victor Espinoza, Tribalist, who had an advantageous outside post, appeared to get a perfect stalking trip but never looked a winner. Off at 4-5, he paid $2.10 to show.
Fractions on the race were 21.64, 43.22 and 1:05.47.