MILLER CONTINUES TO HOLD HOT HAND AS IRISH-BRED EBEKO PREVAILS BY A NOSE IN $100,000 ZUMA BEACH STAKES; RIDDEN BY GONZALEZ, HE GETS MILE ON TURF IN 1:36.55
ARCADIA, Calif. (Oct. 4, 2020)–Irish-bred Ebeko rallied through the lane for a hard fought nose victory in Sunday’s $100,000 Zuma Beach Stakes at Santa Anita, as leading trainer Peter Miller continued to hold a red-hot hand. Ridden by Ricardo Gonzalez, Ebeko, in his second stateside start, got one mile on turf in 1:36.55.
Breaking from post position four in a field of seven juveniles, Ebeko was much closer to the pace today than he had been in his one mile turf U.S. debut at Del Mar on Sept. 7. Fourth, about two lengths off of dueling leaders a quarter mile out, he swept four-wide turning for home and was just up as he narrowly outdueled Bob Baffert’s Tarantino to the wire.
“This is a very nice colt…He gives you his all,” said Gonzalez. “The first time, we were in the 10-hole, so we just kind of made one run and he had just come from Europe. It’s different now that he’s been here. He puts himself in the race and finished really strong.”
A fast finishing second, beaten one length by today’s race favorite Big Fish, Ebeko was off as the third betting choice at 3-1 and paid $8.80, $4.80 and $3.40.
Owned by Altamira Racing Stable, CYBT, Marc Lantzman and Michael Nentwig, Ebeko, who was one for three in his native Ireland, provided Miller with his meet leading fifth stakes win and his eighth win overall. With the winner’s share of $60,000, he increased his earnings to $106,430 and improved his overall mark to 5-2-2-0.
“We’ve been on an incredible run,” said Miller by phone from his home in Cardiff. “We’ve won with our last four, just everything is falling into place right now. I thought Ricky rode an incredible race. We knew this horse was doing well and Ricky saw that the pace was pretty slow, so he had him closer today.
“To be honest, there’s no doubt in my mind that he could’ve won much easier today if we didn’t have the new rules…I’m just being honest…We’re definitely going to look at the Breeders’ Cup (Juvenile Turf on Nov. 6 at Keeneland) with this horse. He deserves it and we’re looking forward to going.”
Ridden by Tiago Pereira, Tarantino laid second throughout and lost a heartbreaker while finishing three quarters of a length in front of Cotopaxi. The actual second choice at 3-1, Tarantino paid $4.80 and $4.00.
Ridden by Abel Cedillo, Cotopaxi made the lead a furlong out, but had to settle for third money, a neck in front of Caisson. Off at 6-1, Cotopaxi paid $4.20 to show.
Big Fish, the 2-1 post favorite with Victor Espinoza, appeared poised to make a run at the top of the stretch, but flattened out through the drive to finish fifth.
Fractions on the race were 23.66, 48.42, 1:13.10 and 1:24.92.