BLAZING FINISH GETS MONZANTE BACK IN WINNER'S CIRCLE

ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 14, 2010) – After competing against Grade I or Grade II competition in 9 of his previous 11 starts, 6-year-old grey gelding Monzante mowed down five allowance level rivals with a blazing final eighth Thursday to capture Santa Anita’s $56,400 one-mile turf feature by a nose over Red Alert Day.

With Garrett Gomez at the controls, even-money choice Monzante rallied from last, split horses entering the stretch, moved to the outside and just nipped Red Alert Day at the wire with a final clocking of 1:35.59.

ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 14, 2010) – After competing against Grade I or Grade II competition in 9 of his previous 11 starts, 6-year-old grey gelding Monzante mowed down five allowance level rivals with a blazing final eighth Thursday to capture Santa Anita’s $56,400 one-mile turf feature by a nose over Red Alert Day.

With Garrett Gomez at the controls, even-money choice Monzante rallied from last, split horses entering the stretch, moved to the outside and just nipped Red Alert Day at the wire with a final clocking of 1:35.59.

The time of 11.36 for the last eighth following sluggish fractions that included a 49.05 half-mile indicated just how fast Monzante was moving in the closing stages.

Red Alert Day, the 3-1 second choice who saved ground throughout under jockey Joe Talamo, gained the place by a neck over Dakota Phone with Rafael Bejarano aboard. Tres Borrachos, runner-up in last July’s Hollywood Gold Cup, set much of the pace under Victor Espinoza before fading to fourth.

The winner paid $4, $2.60 and $2.40. The mutuels on Red Alert Day were $3.20 and $2.60 while Dakota Phone returned $3.20 to show.

“He’s been beating his brains out with those good horses,” winning trainer Mike Mitchell said of Monzante in the winner’s circle. “It’s just good to get a win under his belt. He’s been there, but he just hasn’t given us a win since 2008.”

A winner of the Grade I Eddie Read Handicap at Del Mar in 2008, the son of Maria’s Mon began 2009 with a near miss when second in Del Mar’s ungraded Windy Sands Handicap before failing to threaten in three successive Grade I contests including the Breeders’ Cup Turf.

The drop in company gained Monzante a winning purse of $33,600 for owners Scott Anastasi and Jay and Gretchen Manoogian. It elevated his career earnings to $508,874 from an overall record of 5-3-3 in 19 starts.

Santa Anita offers the second of its popular “Free Friday” presentations on Friday when admission will be free as well as box seats on a first come, first served basis. Hot dogs, beer, sodas, popcorn and coffee will be available at a cost of $1 each. First post for the eight-race program is at 1 p.m.

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