Photos courtesy Benoit & Associates
By Jack Shinar, Blood-Horse
Suggestive Boy, overcoming a terrible post, burst away from his rivals in deep stretch to post a convincing victory in the $152,000 Arcadia Stakes (gr. IIT) on the Santa Anita Park turf course Feb. 2.
Stuck far out in the in the starting gate of the one-mile Arcadia, with a bulky 13-horse field, jockey Joe Talamo engineered a good trip for the Argentina-bred 5-year-old, who prevailed by 2 1/2 lengths in a fast time of 1:32.73 over a firm course.
The victory was the first in a graded stakes for Hall of Fame trainer Ron McAnally since All Star Heart captured the Las Palmas (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita Nov. 6, 2011.
"The post position today, I was a little worried about," McAnally said of the 12-hole. "But he managed to get him over before the turn. That was all I was concerned about. Once he got him over, I was comfortable. He's a good horse."
Pozo de Luna's Suggestive Boy, a four-time grade I winner in his native country, won for the second time in six United States starts. The bay son of Easing Along was making his first appearance since finishing seventh in the Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) at Santa Anita Nov. 3. He previously won the Wickerr Stakes at Del Mar in July, which followed a fine runner-up effort to Jeranimo in the Shoemaker Mile (gr. IT) at Betfair Hollywood Park in his U.S. debut.
"He's a very nice horse, and we really had a perfect trip," said Talamo, who won the Strub Stakes (gr. II) aboard Guilt Trip in the preceding race. "Everything set up great for us. They were flying up there (on the lead).
"Not too many horses win from out there," Talamo said of the wide starting berth, "but he's such a classy horse to get over and save some ground. Mr. McAnally has done a great job with him. He hasn't run since the Breeders' Cup, and he's brought him along just great. He was ready to go for this race."
Wilkinson took second in the large field, with recent Sir Beaufort Stakes (gr. IIT) winner Silentio finishing third despite trouble.
The Arcadia is the major local prep for the Frank E. Kilroe Mile (gr. IT) March 2.
Suggestive Boy, who improved to 6-2-0 in 12 lifetime starts while banking $497,370, was sent off a narrow second choice to Silentio, both at odds of 4-1. The winner, bred by Haras Futuro SRL, is out of the Horse Chestnut mare Suffrage.
Chosen Miracle set a fast pace, opening a two-length lead over 50-1 outsider Tribal Tribute, who was joined in the pursuit by Silentio and Key Decision. Fractions were :22.38, :45.76, and 1:09.30. Chosen Miracle continued to show the way into the stretch but he was soon engulfed by a wall of horses.
Suggestive Boy, who had tracked the leaders in fifth to the quarter pole while racing well off the rail, was four wide in the stretch to take a narrow advantage at the furlong mark. He then displayed an impressively sudden turn of foot to burst clear from the field under urging from Talamo, holding steady late while drifting in.
Wilkinson, well positioned throughout with Martin Pedroza aboard, chased the winner in vain, but got to the wire in time to edge Silentio and Rafael Bejarano by a half-length for second. Akkadian was a nose behind the show horse, with Klisz just a head farther behind in fifth. They were followed home by Forest Mouse, Chosen Miracle, Tribal Tribute, Vagabond Shoes, Willyconker, Strong Suit, Key Decision, and Sebastian Flyte.
Suggestive Boy carried 118 pounds and paid $10.40, $5.80, and $4.20 while keying a $71.40 exacta. Wilkinson, making his second start since winning the one-mile American Handicap (gr. IIT) at Hollywood Park last May for trainer Jeff Mullins, returned $8.40 and $5.40. Silentio, the 123-pound highweight, paid $3.60 to show.
Silentio took a bad step at the three-eighths pole but appeared to be okay after the race, trainer Gary Mandella said.
"You could see he was in position and lost two lengths very quickly," Mandella said. "Maybe he found a soft spot, maybe it was from the rain, I'm not sure.
"After that, Rafael wasn't sure how hard to ride him or of he was OK and just took it easy. He ended up with a lot to do once they turned for home and I have to be happy with how he finished with what happened."
Clubhouse Ride, also entered in the San Antonio Stakes (gr. II) Feb. 3, was scratched by trainer Craig Lewis.
For an Equibase chart, click here.
SUGGESTIVE BOY (ARG) ON HIS WAY TO THE WIN