FAVORED AX MAN PROVES BEST ON LEAD AS HE TAKES $67,000 SANTA ANITA ALLOWANCE FEATURE BY 1 ¼ LENGTHS UNDER VAN DYKE

FAVORED AX MAN PROVES BEST ON LEAD AS HE TAKES $67,000 SANTA ANITA ALLOWANCE FEATURE BY 1 ¼ LENGTHS UNDER VAN DYKE; TRAINED BY BAFFERT, EARNHARDT HOMEBRED GETS SEVEN FURLONGS IN 1:21.92 

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 8, 2019)–“Bob told me the rail was golden and he wasn’t lyin.'”  And so it was according to Drayden Van Dyke, as Hal and Patti Earnhardt’s homebred Ax Man powered to a convincing 1 ¼ length win in Friday’s $67,000 Santa Anita allowance feature.  Trained by Bob Baffert, Ax Man made every pole a winning one as he got seven furlongs in 1:21.92 over a main track that although listed as “fast,” had played slower than normal throughout the day.

Head and head to the far turn with the Vladimir Cerin-trained Calexman to his immediate outside, Ax Man, a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred gelding by Misremembered out of the Flying Chevron mare Shameful, inched clear five sixteenths out and opened up a three length advantage turning for home while hugging the rail and was never threatened through the lane.

Head and head as well with Calexman in the early stages of the opening day Grade I Malibu Stakes, a race in which Ax Man finished 12th, he was off as the 2-1 favorite today in a field of six older horses and paid $6.20, $3.40 and $2.80.

A third condition allowance, today’s race was worth $40,200 to the winner.  A dazzling 9 ½ length first-out maiden winner here on Jan. 1, 2018, Ax Man took a restricted stakes going a mile and one sixteenth at Pimlico in his fourth start on Preakness day, May 19.  With today’s win, he now has four wins from eight starts and a bankroll that reads $206,445.

Trained by John Sadler and ridden for the first time by Joel Rosario, Edwards Going Left, a California-bred gelding by Midnight Lute, added blinkers today, but didn’t show an abundance of early speed, and was hard ridden the final three eighths of a mile for the place.

Off as the 2-1 second choice, he paid $3.60 and $2.60 while finishing 4 ¾ lengths in front of Calexman.

Ridden by Geovanni Franco, Calexman tired through the drive but was easily third, finishing 2 ¾ lengths in front of Shivermetimbers.  Off at 5-1, Calexman paid $3.00 to show.

Fractions on the race were 22.06, 44.14 and 1:08.67.

Special early first post time for an 11-race card on Saturday is at 11:30 a.m. For additional information, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.