VETERAN GELDING EL HUERFANO PREVAILS BY A HEAD IN $69,000 SANTA ANITA ALLOWANCE FEATURE; VAN DYKE & GLATT TEAM FOR MILE WIN IN 1:37.83
ARCADIA, Calif. (May 24, 2019)–In an ultra-game performance, veteran 7-year-old gelding El Huerfano would not be denied on Friday at Santa Anita, as he withstood a stretch-long challenge from Dark Vader and prevailed by a head under Drayden Van Dyke. Trained by Mark Glatt, California-bred El Huerfano got a flat mile in 1:37.83.
Breaking from the far outside in field of seven 3-year-olds and up, El Huerfano matched strides on the lead with longshot Restrainedvengence around the Club House turn, enjoyed a one length advantage at the half mile pole and despite being tackled from his outside by Dark Vader approaching the quarter pole, prevailed to the wire in a thriller.
“He’s super-game,” said Van Dyke, who also rode the son of Tannersmyman to victory at the same level going a mile and one eighth on April 27. “He would not let that horse go by him. Right before the wire, he dug in again…What a neat horse.”
Off as the 2-1 favorite and the only horse entered for an optional claiming tag of $62,500, El Huerfano (the orphan, in Spanish) paid $6.20, $3.00 and $2.40.
Owned by Where We At, El Huerfano picked up his ninth win from 42 starts and with the winner’s share of $53,820, increased his earnings to $575,686.
“He’s a tough son-of-a-gun,” said Glatt, who claimed El Huerfano for $62,500 four starts back on Jan. 6. “He’s one of those old warriors that’s gotten in good form again.”
Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, Dark Vader loomed menacingly a quarter mile out, but couldn’t quite close the sale, finishing second by 1 ¾ lengths over Two Thirty Five. The second choice at 5-2, Dark Vader paid $2.80 and $2.40.
Two Thirty Five finished 3 ¾ lengths in front of Divisor and paid $2.60 to show.
There was one claim in for the winner, who went to trainer Vladimir Cerin for $62,500.
Fractions on the race were 23.78, 47.32, 1:12.03 and 1:25.04.