BARGAIN CLAIM BLAME THE WINE NETS FIFTH WIN FOR STABLE

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 25, 2010) – A bargain claim for $12,500 11 months ago, 5-year-old mare Blame the Wine won her fifth race for Santa Ines Stable Thursday when victorious by one-half length over Be Driven in Santa Anita’s $48,800 optional claiming feature for California-bred fillies and mares at seven furlongs.

Omar Berrio, who has been the winner’s constant saddle companion since the claim, drove Blame the Wine between horses in the closing stages to send her earnings to $97,360 for Santa Ines with the winning purse of $28,800.

Be Driven, with Victor Espinoza aboard, gained the place by a head over 6-5 favorite A Clever Ten, ridden by Rafael Bejarano, whose rally from last in the field of seven failed to fully appease her backers. The winning time was 1:23.28.

Midnight Rage opened up a six-length lead down the backstretch and entered the stretch ahead by 2 ½ before beginning to falter. Berrio, who had been tracking in third with Blame the Wine, vigorously went to work on his mount to prove best in the driving finish.

As the 2-1 second choice, Blame the Wine paid $6, $3.40 and $2.20. Be Driven, off at 6-1 paid, $5.40 and $3. The show price on A Clever Ten was $2.10.

Trained by A. C. Avila, Blame the Wine is a daughter of Decarchy who has run particularly well over synthetic surfaces while posting a 9-4-1 mark in 18 races. She is 5-3-0 in 10 starts over Santa Anita’s Pro-Ride footing. She finished off-the-board in two career starts on grass.

Santa Anita continues with its popular “Free Fridays” promotions on Friday when admission is free and box seats are offered free on a first come, first served basis. There will be a nominal charge of $1 for hot dogs, sodas, beer, popcorn and coffee. First post for the eight-race program is at 1 p.m.

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