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CALIFORNIA-BRED BIG MACHER SMOKES HOME TO WIN GRADE II, $200,000 POTRERO GRANDE BY A NOSE OVER FAVORED WILD DUDE; BALTAS TRAINEE RIDDEN BY BAZE
ARCADIA, Calif. (April 12, 2014)—In a thrilling finish, California-bred Big Macher, with Tyler Baze aboard, prevailed by a nose over favored Wild Dude and Rafael Bejarano in Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 Potrero Grande Stakes, covering 6 ½ furlongs in 1:14.97.
Trained by Richard Baltas, who claimed the 4-year-old Beau Genius gelding out of his debut nine starts back for $20,000 on July 17, Big Macher sat a close third behind fractions of 21.85, 44.25 and 1:08.50, wheeled three-wide turning for home, dispatched Cylclometer a sixteenth out and just managed to withstand the late charge of Wild Dude.
“I had a beautiful trip,” said Baze, who broke from post seven, just inside the speedy Cyclometer. “I didn’t get too much pressure from the outside and I really just got the perfect trip. I got to do what I wanted out there and I got to keep him happy.
“I knew this horse was going to lay his body down and give me everything he had. He’s an honest horse. I just rode this horse with confidence and knew he was going to give me 100 percent.”
The second choice in a field of eight older horses, Big Macher paid $6.20, $3.20 and $2.80.
“He’s a horse that’s getting better and better,” said Baltas. “I don’t even know how to explain it. He’s the type of horse who has the will to win. I don’t take any credit for it. You do the right thing for the horse, and the horse really blessed me today. I’m so happy.”
Owned by Tachycardia Stables and Tom Mansor, Big Macher ran his record to 10-4-2-2 and with the winner’s share of $120,000, he increased his earnings to $316,428.
Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, Wild Dude appeared to sit a perfect trip with Bejarano as the 7-5 favorite. Unhurried early from post six, he had two horses beat leaving the three furlong pole, wheeled four-wide turning for home and just missed in a rousing finish.
“I had a good trip, I was tucked in behind the leaders,” said Bejarano. “I thought I had it in the stretch. I had the opportunity but the (winner) came back with something and beat me.
Wild Dude finished 1 ¾ lengths in front of Cyclometer and paid $2.60 and $2.20.
A close fourth early under Edwin Maldonado, the Bruce Headley-trained Cylcometer put a head in front of the winner a furlong out but tired to finish third, 1 ½ lengths in front of Midnight Transfer and Joe Talamo.
Off at 16-1, Cyclometer paid $5.20 to show.
Racing resumes at Santa Anita on Sunday, with first post time at 12:30 p.m. Admission gates open at 10:30 a.m.