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WITH TALAMO ABOARD, 16-1 SHOT FIRST SETTLER MOWS DOWN OPPOSITION IN $59,400 ALLOWANCE FEATURE
ARCADIA, Calif. (April 8, 2011) – The longest shot in a field of six at odds of 16-1, First Settler stormed home on the far outside Friday to overtake 17-10 second choice Blue Maiden in Santa Anita’s $59,400 allowance race feature for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles on turf.
With jockey Joe Talamo at the controls, First Settler defeated Blue Maiden by one-half length while 13-10 favorite Smart Striking settled for third, another 1 ¼ lengths back in the driving finish. The winning time was 1:48.39.
It was the second straight victory for the 4-year-old daughter of War Chant, but she attracted little attention in the wagering. She had spent over two months on the sidelines and her previous rider, David Flores, took the mount aboard Catchy Tune, who set much of the early pace before dropping back to last.
In her previous start, also at 1 1/8 miles, First Settler had stalked the early pace-setter, but this time she was taken to the rear early and allowed to settle by Talamo. She raced 10 lengths behind Catchy Tune down the backstretch. Her turn of foot in the closing stages sent her soaring past the two favorites.
The winner paid $34.40, $9.60 and $3.20. British-bred Blue Maiden, ridden by Rafael Bejarano, returned $3.80 and $2.60. Smart Striking, an import from Ireland making her second U.S. start with Joel Rosario aboard, paid $2.20 to show.
Trained by Hall of Famer Neil Drysdale for Charles Winner, First Settler gained her third victory in nine starts. She earned $35,400 to boost her career earnings to $99,620.
Saturday is Santa Anita Derby Day with the Grade I, $1 million event for 3-year-olds one of four graded stakes on an 11-race program. First post is at 12 noon. Gates open at 10 a.m.