Longshot Lutine Belle roared from off the pace to win Thursday's $75,000, one mile turf Blue Norther Stakes at Santa Anita and thus provide Hall of Fame jockey Alex Solis with yet another career milestone—win number 5,000. Third in the six furlong Golden Gate Debutante on Nov. 29, the Jerry Hollendorfer-trained Lutine Belle rated kindly behind fractions of 22.78, 45.67, 1:10.50 and 1:23.04, and was up to win by 1 ¼ lengths in 1:35.50.
A three-time leading rider at Santa Anita, Solis returned to Southern California on a full-time basis this past summer.
“It's very special,” said Solis. “At the time, I just tried to ride the race and of course Jerry asked me not to get her stuck on the rail. At the five sixteenths, she gave me a nice kick and when I got her out from the rail she finished really strong. The last two hundred yards is when I realized I was about to win my 5,000th.
“It is nice to get it out of the way. It just stayed (stuck on 4,999) for a long time. It just kept standing and standing. It's done now and it was special to do it on one of my son's horses. That made it more special.”
Off at odds of 19-1 in a field of ten 3-year-old fillies, Lutine Belle paid $41.80, $18.40 and $7.80. A Kentucky-bred daughter of Bellamy Road, Lutine Belle, who tried turf for the first time, picked up her third win from six starts. Owned by KMN Racing, LLC (of which Alex Solis, II is a part), she picked up $46,800 for the win, nearly doubling her lifetime earnings to $92,700.
“We felt she would fit nicely with these fillies if she could handle the turf,” said Hollendorfer, himself a member of racing's Hall of Fame. “We weren't concerned about getting her off the pace because it looked like there was plenty of speed in the race. I was concerned about her getting pushed down inside (from her number four post position). She did get pushed down there going into the first turn, but Alex was able to get her out down the backside.
“I'm really pleased to be a part of this with Alex. He's been a great rider and it's nice to do it in a race like this.”
Ridden by Martin Pedroza, American Sun, who was also off at 19-1, found room at the rail turning for home, made the lead and inched away in mid-stretch, but couldn't hold off the winner, finishing second, three quarters of a length in front of favored Rainha Da Bateria. American Sun paid $20.00 and $9.00.
Off at 6-5, Rainha Da Bateria rallied from well off the pace to finish third with Mike Smith up and paid $2.80 to show.
With a two-day carryover of $347,289 fueling a total pool of $2,065,898 in the Super High Five, there were 22 winning tickets, worth $75,405.40 each. (The Super High Five requires players to select the first five finishers in each day's final race).
Additionally, there was just one winning ticket in Thursday's Pick Six, and it paid $83,373. The winning ticket was purchased through TVG.
Santa Anita offers an eight-race card on Friday. First post time is at 1 p.m. Admission gates open at 11 a.m.
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