By BETH HARRIS
AP Racing Writer
ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) _ Ron the Greek won the $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap by 3½ lengths on Saturday, sending Setsuko to a runner-up finish for the second consecutive year.
Ridden by Jose Lezcano, Ron the Greek ran 1¼ miles in 2:00.41 and paid $9.20, $4.40 and $3.40 at 7-2 odds for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott.
Ron the Greek topped a field that was sorely lacking in name recognition after defending champion Game On Dude bypassed the race in favor of running in the $10 million Dubai World Cup later this month.
"At the half-mile pole, I had a lot of horse," Lezcano said, "but I had to keep asking my horse. My horse is like a bicycle, you keep asking and he will keep running."
Setsuko returned $3.60 and $2.80. The 5-year-old gelding was second last year by a nose to Game On Dude, who won in a disputed finish for trainer Bob Baffert. Jockey Chantal Sutherland became the first woman to win the race, although she had to wait out a 12-minute video review by the stewards for a bumping incident involving third-place Twirling Candy that drew the crowd's ire.