California-Bred Ward ‘N Jerry Relishes Distance & Wins Grade III, $100,000 San Luis Rey Stakes By 1 ¼ Lengths Under Prat; Williams Homebred By Lucky Pulpit, Trained By Puype, Gets Distance In 2:28.67
ARCADIA, Calif. (March 21, 2020)–Mr. and Mrs. Larry D. Williams had reason to smile from afar on Saturday at Santa Anita, as their 7-year-old homebred gelding Ward ‘n Jerry rallied boldly off the turn for home en route to an emphatic 1 ¼ length win in the Grade III, $100,000 San Luis Rey Stakes. Ridden for the first time since June of 2016 by Flavien Prat and trained by Mike Puype, the California-bred son of Lucky Pulpit got the marathon mile and one half over a “good” turf course in 2:28.67.
With the San Luis Rey starting gate set halfway up the hillside turf course, Ward ‘n Jerry was a bit aggressive while a joint third, about three lengths behind pacesetter Go for a Ride and Ashleyluvssugar.
With the pace quickening noticeably leaving the half mile pole, Ward ‘n Jerry wrested the lead from Ashleyluvssugar at the top of the lane and was all business through the drive as he held Camino Del Paraiso and favored Oscar Dominguez at bay late.
The second choice in a field of seven older horses, Ward ‘n Jerry paid $5.60, $3.20 and $2.60.
“I hadn’t been on him in a long time and Mike told me that he’s best at these long distances,” said Prat. “He was a little keen early, but he settled down fine and as you saw, he had a good turn of foot through the stretch.”
Out of the Dehere mare Tamarack Bay, Ward ‘n Jerry, who was most recently second in the Cal Cup Turf Classic here at 1 1/8 miles Jan. 18, notched his first graded stakes win in his 20th career start. With six overall wins, the winner’s share of $60,000 brings his total earnings to $373,579.
“If you look at his form, you can see that he’s done his best at long distances,” said Puype. “He had won at a mile and a quarter and at a mile and three eighths, and he ran a really good third going a mile and one half last December (beaten a neck in the Grade II Hollywood Turf Cup at Del Mar). They came home pretty fast today, they put a couple 24 second quarters together there, so this was a big effort.”
Ridden by Tiago Pereira, Camino Del Paraiso, who had shipped down from Golden Gate Fields for trainer O.J. Jauregui, kept to his task and was second best on the day, finishing 1 ¼ lengths clear of Oscar Dominguez. Off at 6-1, Camino Del Paraiso paid $5.20 and $3.00.
Next to last until mid-way around the far turn, Irish-bred Oscar Dominguez was not able to make up the necessary ground while finishing 5 ¼ lengths in front of Swamp Souffle. Ridden by Umberto Rispoli and off at even money, “Oscar” paid $2.40 to show.
Fractions on the race were 24.62, 49.21, 1:14.37, 1:39.71 and 2:04.61.
Due to public health concerns regarding the coronavirus, Santa Anita remains closed to the public until further notice. First post time for a nine-race card on Sunday is at 12:30 p.m. Please visit santaanita.com for updates.