IDLE SINCE MARCH, GIFT BOX, IN HIS FIRST START FOR SADLER, TAKES GRADE II, $300,000 SAN ANTONIO STAKES BY A HALF LENGTH UNDER ROSARIO; 5-YEAR-OLD SON OF TWIRLING CANDY GETS 1 1/16 MILES IN 1:43.88
ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 26, 2018)–Idle since March 24 in New York, Gift Box made a smashing acquaintance at Santa Anita on Wednesday, as he ran down the highly regarded duo of Battle of Midway and Dabster to take the Grade II, $300,000 San Antonio Stakes by a half length under Joel Rosario. In his first start for John Sadler, the 5-year-old grey son of Twirling Candy got 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.88.
With longshot Pitino rocketing to the lead into the Club House turn, Battle of Midway and Dabster were in hot pursuit while head and head up the backside. When Pitino faltered leaving the three furlong pole, it was Battle of Midway and Dabster slugging it out to the quarter pole, but Gift Box breezed up to their outside while three-deep and looked all a winner turning for home.
Originally trained by Chad Brown, Gift Box, who was last seen at Aqueduct winning a one turn mile allowance by 8 ¾ lengths, was off at 6-1 and paid $15.00, $6.20 and $3.60.
Purchased privately by Hronis Racing, LLC for an undisclosed sum, Gift Box, who was graded stakes-placed at two, got his first stakes win today and with the winner’s share of $180,000, he increased his earnings to $524,160. With the win, Gift Box, who is out of the Unbridled’s Song mare Special Me, ran his overall mark to 14-4-5-2.
Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, Battle of Midway, who came off hard fought neck win over Dabster in the Grade III Native Diver Stakes Nov. 25 at Del Mar, was ultra game in defeat as he finished three quarters of a length clear of his rival.
Ridden by Flavien Prat, Battle of Midway was off at 3-2 and paid $3.00 and $2.20.
With Joe Talamo up for Bob Baffert, Dabster finished 3 ½ lengths clear of Beach View. Off at 9-5, Dabster paid $2.40 to show.
Fractions on the race were 23.28, 46.72, 1:11.06 and 1:37.13.