Packs a Wahlop Headed To The Breeders’ Cup As He Dominates Sunday’s Grade III, $200,000 Zuma Beach
LONG STRIDING PACKS A WAHLOP HEADED TO THE BREEDERS’ CUP AS HE DOMINATES SUNDAY’S GRADE III, $200,000 ZUMA BEACH BY 2 ¾ LENGTHS
WITH A TOTAL POOL OF $3.2 MILLION, 50 CENT EARLY PICK 5 PAYS $285.10 TO 10,058 TICKETS
ARCADIA, Calif. (Oct. 9, 2022)—A rangy grey colt by Creative Cause, Packs a Wahlop has a stride to match and he proved much best in Sunday’s Grade III, $200,000 Zuma Beach Stakes at Santa Anita, as he glided to a facile 2 ¾ length win under Mike Smith. In garnering his third consecutive win and second one mile turf stakes win, Packs a Wahlop stamped his ticket to the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Nov. 4 at Keeneland. Trained by Jeff Mullins and owned by Red Baron’s Barn, LLC and Rancho Temescal, LLC, Packs a Wahlop got the trip in 1:34.07.
Attentive to the early pace while a restrained third a length and a half off longshot pacesetter Castleknock into the first turn, Packs a Wahlop settled into a rhythmic stride up the backside, drew even with Castleknock with a furlong to run and won with his ears pricked while hand-ridden on the money.
“On top of such a big, beautiful stride, this horse is just so athletic,” said Smith, who collected his second stakes on the day. “He doesn’t seem like a 2-year-old, I swear, he’s four! He’s naturally quick, with a very high cruising speed so he puts you right where you need to be.
“If they let him go, he’ll keep on running and if someone else wants to go, he settles in behind them. I mean, when I asked him to run, he just opens up that stride and it’s crazy…It feels great to win two stakes today. Keeping me young. I’m going back in age.”
Ridden for the third consecutive time by Smith after running fourth on a sloppy main track in his debut at Gulfstream Park June 3, Packs a Wahlop was the even money favorite among 11 juveniles and paid $4.00, $3.00 and $2.60.
Owned by Red Baron’s Barn, LLC and Rancho Temescal, LLC, Packs a Wahlop, who sold out of an Ocala, Florida 2-year-old in training sale this past April for $270,000, followed victory in the Del Mar Juvenile Turf and notched his first graded stakes win.
With the winner’s share of $120,000, Packs a Wahlop, who is out of the City Zip mare City by the Bay, now has earnings of $230,000.
“He’s probably one of the best ones I’ve had my hands on for a while,” said Mullins. “When he was in Florida, he was doing things that were not normal…Unfortunately, he hit a muddy track (at Gulfstream) and didn’t really handle it that well. Once he hit the grass, I mean…(His form) may even transfer to the dirt, he’s just a really nice horse.”
Off at 44-1 with Edwin Maldonado, Castlerock stayed gamely for the place, finishing 1 ¼ lengths in front of Malibu Coast while returning $31.20 and $17.80.
Malibu Coast, who was ridden by Ramon Vazquez, was off at 12-1 and paid $6.40 to show.
Fractions on the race were 22.85, 46.70, 1:10.57 and 1:22.34.
There was a sense of urgency leading into Sunday’s 10-race program, as a carryover from Saturday’s 50 cent Early Pick 5 generated a total pool of $3,268,991 by first race post time. There were 10,058 winning tickets, each worth $285.10.
There is special holiday racing on Monday at Santa Anita with first post time for a 10-race card at 1 p.m.