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STREAM CAT UPSETS BIG BOOSTER FOR BIANCONE IN TOKYO CITY CUP
ARCADIA, Calif. (March 28, 2009) – A former leading trainer in the United States who returned late last year from a one-year suspension for a medication violation, Patrick Biancone on Saturday realized his second victory since his reinstatement when Stream Cat captured Santa Anita’s 53rd running of the Grade III, $100,000 Tokyo City Cup at 1 ½ miles.
After a ground saving ride along the rail, jockey Joseph Talamo sent Stream Cat to the lead in midstretch and they had enough in reserve to stave off the fast-closing bid of favored Big Booster by a neck with Medjool another two lengths back in third.
“I knew Big Booster would be coming,” said Talamo, “so at the quarter pole, I wanted to kick away from him and hold on if I could. It worked out great.” The winning time over Santa Anita’s Pro-Ride surface was 2:31.92.
Big Booster, the 6-5 favorite who had closed belatedly for third in last year’s Tokyo City Cup, was returning from a five-month freshening for trainer Mike Mitchell. Stream Cat, sent off at odds of 9-2, was coming off a tenth place finish in the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap on March 7.
Prior to Saturday’s start, Biancone removed the blinkers that Stream Cat had worn since early in his career, and the equipment change seemed significant.
“Going longer, I wanted him to relax quicker,” explained the 56-year-old French-born trainer. “Sometimes, on older horses, when you take off the blinkers, it’s roughly the same effect as when you put them on. You can change their style, you know?”
Stream Cat returned $11.40, $4.20 and $3.40 to his backers. Big Booster, ridden by Rafael Bejarano, paid $2.80 and $2.40 while the show price on Medjool, with Michael Baze aboard, was $6.40.
Biancone had entered the day with but a single victory from 47 starters this year, that win coming with Nownownow in the Grade II San Fernando Stakes at Santa Anita on Jan. 17 with Talamo in the saddle.
It has been a tedious climb back for the trainer who led the nation in purse earnings in 2006 when banking over $5.3 million and who trained Horse of the Year All Along in 1983.
Owned by Fab Oak Stable, Hurley and Goldthorp, Stream Cat earned $60,000 for the partnership which brought the 6-year-old gelding’s career figure to $705,610 from a lifetime record of 7-1-4 in 22 starts.
Earlier in the afternoon, Triumphant Flight scored an upset victory in the 52nd running of the $87,800 San Miguel Stakes for 3-year-olds when setting the pace under Victor Espinoza and finishing one-half length ahead of Charlie’s Moment while covering six furlongs in 1:09.54.
The California-bred son of Chullo paid $16.40, $6.40 and $3.20. Charlie’s Moment, who edged favored Turk by one length while ridden by Danny Sorenson, paid $4.60 and $2.60. Turk, with Joel Rosario in the saddle, returned $2.40 to show.
“This horse has such a big heart,” Espinoza said after dismounting from the winner trained by Eric Kruljac. “He’s tried hard in all of his races. Today, we had the one hole, so we really didn’t have much choice except to just let him run away from there. The fractions (22.44 and 45.49) helped us. From the three eights pole to the wire, he picked it up.” Added Kruljac, “He’s just a nice, gutty colt.”
The winning purse of $57,480 boosted Triumphant Flight’s earnings to $206,543 for owner Tyler Seltzer. The colt was purchased for $36,000 at the Barretts October Sale in 2007.
Santa Anita presents a pair of stakes features on Sunday when a nine-race program commences at 12 p.m. Co-featured are the Grade III, $100,000 Santa Paula Stakes for 3-year-old fillies and the $125,000 Sensational Star Handicap for California-breds.