Changethechannel made the lead early and kept on truckin' to take Friday's $58,000 Venus Purse allowance gate to wire and give jockey Tyler Baze his first win since June 9. A 5-year-old Kentucky-bred mare by English Channel, Changethechannel, trained by Sean McCarthy, won by a neck while getting 1 1/4 miles on turf in 2:00.02.
Baze, who went to the sidelines in July due to alcohol-related problems, rode the mare to her last victory, a front running score six starts back on Nov. 23, 2012.
“It's nice to break the ice and get this one off my back, said Baze, 31. “I'm looking forward and just out here having a good time. The main thing for me, is trying to enjoy life and this is awesome.”
Entered for an optional claiming tag of $40,000, Changethechannel was well beaten on synthetic cushion track Dec. 12, and those who backed her Friday at 12-1 were enjoying themselves aplenty as she paid $27.40, $12.40 and $9.20.
Although even money favorite Level Headed pressed Changethechannel early, Baze was content to let his mount roll on the lead.
“I knew she was going pretty fast (23.36, 46.94, 1:11.38 and 1:35.67) but she was doing it easy and I didn't want to take ahold of her. She likes to run like that,” said Baze.”
Owned by Abbondanza Racing, LLC, Changethechannel picked up $34,800 for the win, boosting her earnings to $134,050. She registered her first turf win in four tries and got her third win from 12 career starts.
“I think Tyler won the race around the first turn, honestly,” said McCarthy. “He opened up four lengths and it just gave her a chance to settle and breathe. She relaxed and got into a rhythm and he asked her at the right time, at the three-eighths pole and he didn't try to get too crafty with her.”
Passionate Diva, off at 6-1 with Edwin Maldonado, paid $7.60 and $4.40.
Scooter Bird, the second choice in a field of eight at 3-1, paid $3.40 with Corey Nakatani up.
There was one winning Pick Six ticket on Friday, worth $62,592.80. It was purchased for an as yet unknown amount via a TVG account.
Santa Anita will present a nine-race program Saturday, with the Grade III, $100,000 Sham Stakes for 3-year-olds at one mile and the Grade II, $200,000 San Pasqual Stakes for older horses at 1 1/16 miles serving as co-features. First post time is 12:30 p.m., with admission gates opening at 10:30 a.m.
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