THERE’S NO CATCHING DON PERICO, ROSARIO AT 8-1 IN BLACK ROCK PURSE

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 2, 2012) – Don Perico, a 5-year-old gelded son of In Excess, terminated a six-race losing streak when scoring a wire-to-wire victory under leading rider Joel Rosario in Thursday’s $59,750 Black Rock Purse for California-breds at 6 ½ furlongs over Santa Anita’s hillside turf course.

Rosario, who had ridden Donald J. Valpredo’s homebred throughout the drought, sent Don Perico to a clear lead early in his second try over the unique downhill layout, and he gamely held on to resist fast-closing Starspangled Heat by one-half length in 1:12.92.

In his first effort over the course on Dec. 29, Don Perico had wound up fourth, close behind third-place Starspangled Heat and runner-up Dance With Gable, who finished off the board in the Black Rock Purse, a first-condition allowance for older horses.

Rosario thought that the earlier experience was critical in Don Perico’s turnaround at odds of 8-1.

“The last time he was a little green,” Rosario said. “He was looking around too much. Today, he was much more professional. I just let him go. Sometimes when horses are doing something for the first time like in his last race, they aren’t familiar with what they are doing, so they look around too much.”

Starspangled Heat, ridden by Corey Nakatani, edged Husband’s Folly, with Mike Smith aboard, by one-half length for the place as both closed strongly. Dixieland Blues, the 5-2 favorite, checked in fifth in a field of 10, one-half length behind 3-1 Dance With Gable.

The winner, trained by Marty Jones, paid $18.40, $9.60 and $6.20. The mutuels on Starspangled Heat were $8.80 and $6.40. Husband’s Folly paid $5.60 to show. The winning purse of $34,800 elevated the earnings of Don Perico to $78,080 from a 2-1-1 record in nine career starts.

Racing continues on Friday at Santa Anita with an eight-race program beginning at 1 p.m.

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