FAVORED BLUEGRASS REWARD WIRES FIELD IN FEATURED SOLVANG PURSE

ARCADIA, Calif. (Oct. 13, 2011) – Even-money favorite Bluegrass Reward validated his support on Thursday with a decisive, wire-to-wire victory in Santa Anita’s featured $48,350 Solvang Purse for California-breds at 1 1/16 miles.

With Joe Talamo in the saddle, the 3-year-old gelding finished 5 ¼ lengths ahead of runner-up Lodi Red while stopping the clock in 1:41.78. Caper’s Edge wound up third, three-quarters of a length further back, in the field of six.

“The track is really favoring speed today,” trainer Mike Mitchell had said in the paddock prior to the race, “so we’re going to go, and let Joe figure it out from there.”

There wasn’t much figuring required as Talamo guided Bluegrass Reward through fractions of 22.76; 46.34 and 1:10.02. He maintained a one-to-two length advantage before spurting clear in the stretch.

“The track was playing so fast today, it was hard to win from off the pace,” Talamo said in the winner’s circle. “So our game plan was to go to the lead, and it worked out.”

Bluegrass Reward returned $4, $2.40 and $2.10. Lodi Red, the 3-1 second choice ridden by Brice Blanc, paid $3 and $2.40. Caper’s Edge, with Rafael Bejarano aboard, paid 2.80 to show.

The winning purse of $28,800 increased the earnings of owner Nick Alexander’s homebred son of Good Reward to $101,540 from a record of 3-3-4 in 13 starts. The victory was his first in six starts that included a pair of seconds and a pair of thirds, one of them a third in the $100,000 California Derby at Golden Gate Fields in January.

Santa Anita presents a program of eight races on Friday with first post at 1 p.m.

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