LONGSHOT BLITZKRIEG LEADS THROUGHOUT AND WINS GRADE III, $100,000 AMERICAN STAKES BY ONE LENGTH AS ESPINOZA & O’NEILL TEAM FOR ONE MILE TURF SCORE IN 1:33.46
ARCADIA, Calif. (June 21, 2020)–With a solid work under his belt and a post position advantage, trainer Doug O’Neill’s Blitzkrieg was hustled to the lead and made every pole a winning one as he took Sunday’s Grade III, $100,000 American Stakes by one length. Ridden for the first time by Victor Espinoza, the 5-year-old gelding by War Front got a flat mile on turf in 1:33.46.
In his second Santa Anita start since running in four races in Dubai over the winter, Blitzkrieg broke from post four and enjoyed a half length advantage on speedy Bolo, who broke from the far outside, into the Club House turn.
Although he set brisk fractions, Blitzkrieg was never headed as he opened up 1 ½ lengths on Bolo into the far turn and he was large and in charge, leading by two lengths turning for home and was never challenged while holding classy Bowies Hero at bay late.
“His last work was phenomenal,” said Leandro Mora, assistant to O’Neill, who was returning from New York. “He went six furlongs, on his own, in 58 and four (fifths) and galloped out in 1:12. He worked so good, we were tempted to put him back on the dirt, but we stuck to the plan and I’m glad we did. I told Victor that with Bolo drawn way outside, let’s go and I think maybe we can steal it. He’s back no question. This is the horse we thought we had all along.”
Well beaten at 57-1 in the Grade I Shoemaker Mile (turf) here on May 25, Blitzkrieg was off at 7-1 in a field of nine 3-year-olds and up and paid $16.80, $7.80 and $4.60.
Owned by R3 Racing, LLC and Calara Farms, Blitzkrieg, who was claimed for $25,000 11 starts back in January, 2019, got his second graded stakes win and now has six wins from 21 career starts. With the winner’s share of $60,000, he has earnings of $388,097.
“The pace was pretty quick, but he was doing it so easy,” said Espinoza. “For me, every time I ride a horse like him with speed, I like to just sit up there and have fun.”
A two-time Grade I winner who had been away since running fifth in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Mile Nov. 2, Bowies Hero was in high gear late under Umberto Rispoli, finishing 2 ¼ lengths in front of Sharp Samurai. Off at 6-1, Bowies Hero paid $6.40 and $3.80.
A multiple graded stakes winner who had been idle since Aug. 18, Sharp Samurai, who was attentive to the pace throughout under Abel Cedillo, dead heated for third with his stablemate Souter and paid $2.40 to show.
Souter, ridden by Evin Roman, was off at 72-1 and paid $8.00 to show.
Fractions on the race were 23.02, 46.42, 1:10.03 and 1:21.66.