Alert Bay rallied strongly down the center of the Santa Anita turf course to win Sunday's Grade 2, $200,000 City of Hope Mile Stakes.
The 4-year-old gelding, trained by Blaine Wright for owner Peter Redekop B. C. Ltd., has 10 wins in 19 starts and is a sparkling four-for-five at Santa Anita. Martin Garcia was in the irons for the City of Hope victory.
A son of City Zip out of Hickory (Dushyantor), Alert Bay was bred in California by Thomas Newton Bell & Ross John McLeod. He sold for $65,000 as a young yearling at the 2012 Keeneland January Sale.
Big Cazanova and Avanzare were second and third, respectively. Twentytwentyvision was a late scratch out of the race.
Final time for the turf mile was 1:33.58 after splits of :22.69, :45.74 and 1:09.58.
Quotes from the City of Hope Mile:
MARTIN GARCIA, ALERT BAY, WINNER: “Blaine (Wright, trainer) told me to put him in a good spot where we wouldn't get into trouble, follow the speed and make your move outside.
“I was pretty comfortable outside and when I saw Gary (Stevens, on favored Avanzare) ask him going into the stretch and Avanzare didn't respond I knew it was mine.
BLAINE WRIGHT, ALERT BAY, WINNER: “This was Mr. Redekop's decision to run here. I had a different race, but he wanted to keep him stretched out…this horse likes to be up near the running and is set up real good with a fast pace.
“I'd certainly have to (think about Keeneland.) We faced a good group of horses today and now we'll get him back home, evaluate him, talk it over with Mr. Redekop and see what goes on from there. We kind of looked at it a while ago but we had a tough time getting going this year, getting him back to form. This past month has done well for him.
“It's almost like the switch gets flipped. It's been a real pleasure to train this type of horse. I really hope the Breeders' Cup is a possibility. This race should certainly let us think about it. He came out well and he wasn't breathing too hard. He does quite well at Santa Anita though, he really likes this place.
“I've never had such a versatile, hard-hitting horse as him; he can run on any surface. Obviously, he's best on turf but he can run on dirt and even Tapeta. Today was a blessing, Mr. Redekop deserves all the credit here.”
“Martin came out with a game plan. He watched all of his races, he watched every one of them. He knew what he had underneath him. I just told him the horse was geared-down the last part the last time he ran and I just think he's just getting good again.”
KENT DESORMEAUX, BIG CAZANOVA, SECOND: “I can't believe I got beat. I was haulin' ass!! My horse ran a hole in the wind and we still got beat. Congrats to the winner. Who is that horse?!”
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