NEWSDAD GETS THE HEADLINE IN G2 PAN AMERICAN
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Going in to Saturday’s Pan American Stakes (G2), trainer Bill Mott was confident in his chances of winning the $200,000 race – but not with the horse he would end up leading into the Winner’s Circle.
Mott saddled co-favorite Slumber in the 1 ½-mile event, a horse that ran third in the Mac Diarmida (G2) at Gulfstream last time out. But his other horse Newsdad, who most recently ran seventh in an allowance on March first, ran by his stablemate to post a neck victory over the graded stakes-placed Vertiformer. Slumber was a half-length back in third.
“At the sixteenth pole, it looked like anything could happen,” Mott said. “It was a good race.”
The win was Newsdad’s second in the Pan American, having won the 54th running of the race in 2012. The 6-year-old horse was also third in last year’s edition, but he did not race for almost a year after that while recovering from a tendon injury.
“He likes to skip a year,” Mott said. “I wasn’t really confident (about this race). I thought he might run well. He’s had a long layoff, and this was only his second start back. I wasn’t sure if he was totally there yet. But he fired well today.”
Mott was also surprised by the way Newsdad won. The horse was far back early on, sitting in tenth before closing.
“We thought we’d probably be laying a little bit closer,” Mott said. “I knew the horses that had speed. Of course, I took the blinkers off this horse and it probably caused him to relax a little bit more in the first part of it.”
“They went a little quick early and he’s a big horse and broke a little slow,” jockey Joel Rosario explained. “I just let him sit in behind horses and hoped he had something turning for home and he did.”
Newsdad, a son of Arch and the Pulpit mare Storm Tracer, has always had an affinity for the turf, but he also won the 2012 Fayette Stakes (G2) and placed fourth in the 2011 Bluegrass Stakes (G1), both on Keeneland’s synthetic track. Going forward, Mott would like to run the horse on that surface again, and another shot at the Fayette could be in the works.
“We’ve always thought well of him,” Mott said. “I was going to go to Keeneland and run him in the Fayette again, but that only gives him three weeks rest. He’s a pretty special horse on the synthetic surface.”
The final time of the Pan American was 2:22.77. Newsdad paid $12.60 to win.
ANJAZ’S LUCK TURNS AROUND IN G3 ORCHID
In the $150,000 Orchid (G3), Anjaz turned away a field of seven turf-running fillies and mares to claim the 54th running of the 1 ½-mile race by 2 ½ lengths over Viva Rafaela (BRZ). The 5-year-old mare by Street Cry (IRE) out of Playful Act (IRE) by Sadler’s Wells had not run since last August after enduring a lengthy streak of bad luck. She missed four straight planned starts, most recently being scratched before the Very One (G3) at Gulfstream on February 15th after acting up at the gate.
“She’s trained very well,” said Joe Murphy, who saddled Anjaz for trainer Tom Albertrani, who was in Dubai for the Dubai World Cup. “Tommy’s done an excellent job prepping her for this. We were a little bit nervous with the rain forecast today. It scared us a little bit more, but the gods looked favorably on us. They’ve been struggling with her, and it’s just a relief. Everyone’s overjoyed.”
Anjaz led from gate to wire and was never pressured while setting slow early fractions, pleasing jockey Rajiv Maragh.
“Once she established the lead, it was a mile and a half so everyone was pretty much being patient with a long distance to go,” he said. “All the horses got into a nice flow. It was pretty steady kind of race. I was fortunate to get it easy, and I’ll take it like that. It worked out pretty good.”
HEY LEROY GETS UP IN TIME IN APPLETON (G3)
After the $100,000 Appleton (G3), the Venezuelan flag was waved as the connections of Hey Leroy acknowledged the ongoing struggles in their home country while celebrating their horse’s very first graded stakes victory. Hey Leroy, a 4-year-old gelding by Any Given Saturday out of the Gulch mare Galashey, ran down the front-running Mr. Online to prevail in the mile turf race by a neck. Trainer Manny Azpurua thought Alex Solis gave his horse the perfect ride.
“I told the rider, ‘Don’t give him too much,’ and he did a nice ride because he took care of the horse, and the horse finished strong like he always does,” Azpurua said. “He’s going to be a nice horse, and he showed so far that he can make it.”
Solis cut it close, but he was confident he would guide Hey Leroy to the wire first.