HIGHLY REGARDED SAN ONOFRE TAKES $60,000 FALLING STAR PURSE, MIKE SMITH & KAREN HEADLEY TEAM FOR 1 ¼ LENGTH ALLOWANCE WIN

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 20, 2014)—Heavily favored San Onofre registered an impressive 1 ¼ length win in Thursday’s $60,000 Falling Star Purse, getting 6 ½ furlongs in a rapid 1:14.56 under regular rider Mike Smith. Breaking from post five, he out-footed second choice Heir of Storm around the far turn through fractions of 22.52, 44.64 and 1:08.30, and was full of run throughout.

Trained by Karen Headley and bred by her father, trainer Bruce Headley, San Onofre, a 4-year-old gelding by Surf Cat, won his fourth race in a row and paid $3.00, $2.40 and $2.10, as the 1-2 favorite in a field of six older allowance horses.

“He’s like a bike, you pedal, he goes,” said Smith, who has been aboard for all four of his career wins. “We haven’t even come close to seeing the best of him yet. So far, it’s been great, but I think it’s time now to go ahead and step into deeper waters and see what we have. Hopefully, he’ll put it all together in a stake and we’ll win some of those.”

Owned by Matson Racing, San Onofre picked up $46,800 for the win, boosting his earnings to $165,040. He now has four wins and a second from five starts.

“I want to see how he comes out of this one,” said Karen Headley. “I want to see how he pulls up and then we’ll talk and probably go into a stake next.”

Explain, the third choice at 7-1 with apprentice Irving Orozco, was fourth, 3 ½ lengths off the winner past the three eighths pole and tried to get on terms in close quarters at the rail three sixteenths of a mile out but was outrun, finishing second, 1 ¾ lengths in front of Heir of Storm.

Explain paid $4.20 and $2.80.

Heir of Storm, who broke from the outside post position six, was hustled out of the gate by Victor Espinoza and loomed dangerously around the turn, but faded late. He paid $2.40 to show.

Racing resumes at Santa Anita on Friday, with first post time at 1 p.m. Admission gates open at 11 a.m.