TEXAS-BRED PURE TACTICS JUST UP TO WIN $75,000 SIREN LURE STAKES; SMITH GUIDES O’NEILL TRAINEE TO NOSE VICTORY DOWN HILLSIDE TURF

TEXAS-BRED PURE TACTICS JUST UP TO WIN $75,000 SIREN LURE STAKES; SMITH GUIDES O’NEILL TRAINEE TO NOSE VICTORY DOWN HILLSIDE TURF

ARCADIA, Calif. (June 1, 2014)—Timed to perfection by Mike Smith, Texas-bred Pure Tactics was up to win Sunday’s $75,000 Siren Lure Stakes by a nose over longshot Rosengold and Kent Desormeaux, as the pair hit the wire together in 1:13 flat after 6 ½ furlongs down Santa Anita’s hillside turf course.

With Rosengold showing the way down the hill through fractions of 21.92, 43.84 and 1:06.75, Smith was next to last in a field of six 3-year-olds and up when the field approached the dirt crossing at the top of the lane, but instead of wheeling outside a four-horse spread, he split horses three from the rail and prevailed in a desperate finish.

“Midway down the hill, it looked like he was locked and loaded,” said winning trainer Doug O’Neill. “We had a short field and they were spread out, but Mike decided to duck between them there at the top of the stretch and I think that was the move that got it done.”

Off at 9-2, Pure Tactics paid $11.20, $5.20 and $3.40. A 5-year-old horse by the Storm Cat stallion Pure Prize, Pure Tactics, owned by Doug Cole, who races as Nita Winner, LLC, was making his third start for O’Neill since being shipped west in January from Fairgrounds in New Orleans.

Pure Tactics picked up $46,800 for the win, padding his bankroll to $260,011. In getting his first win from three tries down the hillside turf, he improved his overall record to 15-6-2-2.

“Kent’s horse came back on me a little and it was really close,” said Smith. “He warmed up brilliant today. It’s such a good feeling to have a horse going to the gate like that. When I hit him left handed (inside the sixteenth pole) he waited a little, so I went to flagging him right handed and he really responded.”

A dedicated front runner, Rosengold established a clear early lead, was a length clear of Artest and Edwin Maldonado when he crossed back onto the turf and just missed in a heartbreaker. Trained by Julio Canani, Rosengold was off at a whopping 10-1 and paid $9.20 and $5.40.

Ridden by Corey Nakatani and off at 9-2, County Lineman rallied boldly from last and was beaten by a diminishing half length. Trained by Vladimir Cerin, County Lineman finished 1 ¾ lengths in front of Artest and paid $3.60 to show.

Chips All In, who was off as the heavy 4-5 favorite from post six, was a close third under Joe Talamo approaching the dirt crossing but flattened out badly to finish fifth, beaten nine and a half lengths.

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