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BAFFERT, GARCIA STRIKE AGAIN WITH SANGAREE IN HERNANDEZ
ARCADIA, Calif. (March 7, 2010) – One day after Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert provided 25-year-old jockey Martin Garcia with the biggest win of his career while riding Misremembered to a one-half length victory in the Gr. I Santa Anita Handicap, the pair struck again Sunday with Sangaree in Santa Anita’s $60,350 Joe Hernandez Stakes.
Garcia rallied 4-1 shot Sangaree between horses in the stretch to defeat Gallant Son by one-half length in a driving finish to the 6 ½ furlong event that had been transferred from the turf to Santa Anita’s Pro-Ride surface following overnight rain.
The final time was 1:15.28 and the outcome reflected the patience of the up-and-coming rider from Mexico who kept his mount well behind some sizzling fractions of 21.78, 44.08 and 1:08.84.
Gallant Son, closing swiftly on the extreme outside, gained the place by 1 ¼ lengths over Stoneside and jockey Martin Pedroza. Machismo and 5-2 favorite Dance With Gable paid the price after dueling for the early lead. Early leader Machismo wound up fifth in the field of seven with Dance With Gable fading to last.
“Today, Bob told me to put him in contention and make one run,” Garcia said. “When I saw that there were three horses going for the lead, that made the race for me. I decided to get him outside, and he just took off.”
If the race named after Santa Anita’s original race caller had remained on the grass as scheduled, according to Baffert, Sangaree would not have competed.
“I’m glad it came off the turf,” said Baffert, “because I would have scratched him if it would have been on the turf. He’s real heavy, and he would sink right in.”
As the third choice in the wagering, Sangaree paid $10.20, $4.40 and $2.80. Gallant Son, the field’s longest price at 9-1, returned $7.20 and $4.60. Stoneside paid $4.20 to show.
Baffert has been largely responsible this meeting for supplying the boost that has lifted the talented Garcia to the upper tier of local riders. The Hernandez was their third stakes win together at the meet. While riding for Baffert, Garcia has won with 15 of his 54 mounts. He has 27 victories overall.
A 5-year-old chestnut horse owned by Darley Stable, Sangaree earned $35,730 with his Hernandez victory. The Kentucky-bred son of Awesome Again’s total earnings reached $98,080 from a record of 4-2-1 in 12 starts.
Santa Anita will be dark on Monday and Tuesday before racing resumes on Wednesday with an eight-race card that gets underway at 1 p.m.