LONGSHOT AIR STRIKE OVERHAULS CISTRON LATE TO TAKE GRADE II, $200,000 TRIPLE BEND STAKES BY A HEAD UNDER ARROYO, JR.; TRAINED BY D’AMATO, SON OF STREET SENSE GETS SEVEN FURLONGS IN 1:23.12
ARCADIA, Calif. (May 25, 2019)–Next to last but on the move leaving the three furlong pole, longshot Air Strike rallied wide turning for home and was up to beat front-running Cistron by a head in a thrilling finish to Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 Triple Bend Stakes at Santa Anita. Ridden by Norberto Arroyo, Jr. and trained by Phil D’Amato, Air Strike, a 4-year-old colt by Street Sense, got seven furlongs in 1:23.12.
Ridden by Victor Espinoza, Cistron, who broke from post position two, opened up a three length lead at the top of the stretch, but just missed in a heartbreaking defeat.
Most recently fourth in a Grade III stakes going one mile at Lone Star Park on April 28, Air Strike was off at 12-1 in a field of eight 3-year-olds and up and paid $27.40, $10.40 and $4.60.
Owned by Madaket Stables LLC, Slam Dunk Racing and Michael Nentwig, Air Strike, who is out of the Tapit mare Omnitap, picked up his first ever stakes win in the Triple Bend and with the winner’s share of $120,000, hiked his earnings to $279,310.
Based in Kentucky for his first three starts with trainer Steve Asmussen before being sold privately, Air Strike has now won three out of his seven starts with D’Amato and is 10-3-2-1 overall.
Cistron, who carved out splits of 22.10, 44.53 and 1:09.61, was off at 5-1 and paid $5.80 and $3.40 while finishing 1 ½ lengths in front of Nero.
Ridden by Drayden Van Dyke, Nero, who was second turning for home, was off at 4-1 and paid $3.60 while besting 9-5 favorite American Anthem by a half-length.
Ridden by Mike Smith, American Anthem, who broke from the rail, was shuffled back to sixth position heading to the half mile pole and never threatened.