ALEXANDER’S HOMEBRED PEE WEE REESE SETS SIZZLING FRACTIONS EN ROUTE TO 1 ¼ LENGTH SCORE IN $100,000 SENSATIONAL STAR STAKES; VAN DYKE & D’AMATO TEAM FOR RAPID 6 ½ FURLONG HILLSIDE TURF WIN IN 1:10.84
RACE FOR CALIFORNIA-BRED OR SIRE HORSES PART OF LUCRATIVE GOLDEN STATE SERIES
ARCADIA, Calif. (March 31, 2019)–With a cascade of late money stamping him the 6-5 post time favorite, Nick Alexander’s homebred Pee Wee Reese set sizzling fractions en route to powerful 1 ¼ length win in Sunday’s $100,000 Sensational Star Stakes at Santa Anita. Ridden by Drayden Van Dyke and trained by Phil D’Amato, Pee Wee Reese, named for the late Dodger Hall of Fame shortstop, got 6 ½ furlongs in 1:10.84, which was just 11/100’s of a second off the track record.
Breaking from the far outside, “Pee Wee” shot to the early lead and although longshot Minister of Soul tried to pressure him early, he left his primary rival, Eddie Haskell in his wake at the dirt crossing turning for home in registering his third stakes win while remaining unbeaten in three hillside assignments.
“He’s a cool horse,” said Alexander, who is known to millions of Southern California radio listeners as the owner of Nick Alexander Imports, who’s slogan is “Nick can’t say no.” “He’s had high suspensories (tendon issues) pretty much his whole life (explaining a seven-month absence from the races).
“The Cal-bred program is the only thing that keeps us in business. Between the maiden bonuses, and being protected in the first allowance conditions, being able to run against nothing but Cal-breds, the breeders awards, the stallion awards…It makes a difference between profit and loss every year.”
The first choice in a field of six California-bred or sired horses, Pee Wee Reese paid $4.60, $2.60 and $2.10.
A 6-year-old full horse by Tribal Rule, out of Alexander’s Unbridled Belle mare Bluegrass Belle, Pee Wee Reese is now 14-7-2-1 and with the winner’s share of $60,000, he increased his bankroll to $412,901.
“On paper, it looked like there was a ton of speed,” said D’Amato. “I told Drayden to help him out of there and if he popped on top, to go with it and he got him out of there beautifully…Drayden said he was pricking his ears out there and just doing it really comfortably. I think he’s a good miler, but down the hill, he’s a force to be reckoned with.”
The second choice at 3-2 with Kent Desormeaux up, Eddie Haskell appeared to have the winner measured three sixteenths of a mile from home, but couldn’t get on terms with him at any point. Second by 1 ¼ lengths, he paid $2.80 and $2.20.
Last after the first half mile, Eddie Haskell was easily second, finishing four lengths in front of Brandothebartender. Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, Eddie Haskell paid $2.10 to show.
Fractions on the race, set by the winner, were 21.15, 42.85 and 1:04.87.
The Sensational Star is part of the Golden State Series, which is sponsored by the CTBA to benefit California-bred or sired horses.