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EXAMEN IMPRESSIVE WINNER OF $58,000 SHASTA LAKE, PROCTOR TRAINEE TRIES DIRT FOR FIRST TIME
ARCADIA, Calif. (March 7, 2013)—With Garrett Gomez at the controls, Examen, a lightly raced 3-year-old gelding by Giant’s Causeway who is trained by Tom Proctor, tried the dirt for the first time on Thursday and was a handy 3 ¼ length winner of Santa Anita’s featured $58,000 Shasta Lake Purse, negotiating one mile in 1:37.38.
Originally scheduled for the turf, the Shasta Lake, a first condition allowance for 3-year-olds, and two other races, were transferred to a wet fast main track due to an unexpected early morning downpour.
Second into and around the Club House turn behind pacesetting longshot Meringue Pie, Examen took command approaching the quarter pole.
“My main concern was how he would handle the wet dirt,” said Gomez, who guided Examen to a maiden special weight win on turf in his Southern California debut on Feb. 9. “He got splattered a little going into the first turn and it didn’t bother her a bit, so I decided to go ahead and cover him up some.
“Tom’s an awesome horsemen and this horse is really coming around, learning from each race. When he made the lead today, he started looking around a little, like he did with me the first time. The main thing is, you want ‘em competitive when somebody comes to ‘em and he is.”
In a field of six, Examen was off as the second choice at 8-5 and paid $5.40, $3.00 and $2.40.
“His mother (Surf N Sand, by Boston Harbor) never ran on the turf and won something like $400,000,” said Proctor. “She was a pretty solid horse and she was better as she got older as well…I’m not very ambitious in life, or with horses. I let them do what they do and I don’t try to expect too much.”
Bred by Charles Heider and Scott Heider, Examen is owned by Heider Family Stables, LLC. With the winner’s share of $34,800, he has earnings of $70,400, and has won two of his three starts.
Runner-up Square Dancer, ridden by Rafael Bejarano, sat third while tracking the winner and held second money by a nose over English-bred Rafale and Julien Leparoux.
Square Dancer paid $5.40 and $4.00.
Off at 8-1, Rafale sat fourth early in his main track debut and finished a half length in front of 6-5 favorite I’m Not Gray and Edwin Maldonado.
Rafale paid $4.80 to show.
Favored I’m Not Gray was keen early and experienced traffic trouble into and around the Club House turn. Next to last leaving the half mile pole, he rallied three-wide into the stretch but was out-finished for third money.
Live racing resumes at Santa Anita on Friday, with first post time at 1 p.m.
For more racing information, visit www.santaanita.com.