Favored Blueskiesnrainbows was sent from the gate and dictated the pace throughout to take Saturday's Grade II, $200,000 San Pasqual Stakes by 1 1/4 lengths under Martin Pedroza, getting 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.17.
Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, 5-year-old Blueskiesnrainbows came off a similar gate to wire win going 1 1/8 miles in the Grade III Native Diver Handicap and has now won three stakes from his last five starts, all in partnership with Pedroza.
“Everybody seems to think that he has to have the lead, but he doesn't necessarily,” said Pedroza. “He's not really quick from the gate, so you have to send him to get position. Once you get him going though, he's okay.
“The reason we send him is because of that…It worked out well and I got the lead all to myself today. He galloped out strong, I had to fight him to pull him up.”
The 2-1 favorite in a field of seven, Blueskiesnrainbows paid $6.20, $4.20 and $2.80.
“This horse is doing real good right now,” said Hollendorfer, who allowed that the Grade I, $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap on March 8 is a race “we should be thinking about,” was happy with the early San Pasqual pace.
“The fractions were a little slower than I anticipated, but they've been running about like that. Martin went a little wide on the first turn but I think he didn't want (Ron) Ellis' horse (Majestic City) to outrun him to the first turn.”
Owned by Kelly Mitchell's Bad Boy Racing and Stanley Whisenant's Whizway Farms, Blueskiesnrainbows picked up $120,000 for the win, increasing his bankroll to $669,552. His overall record now stands at 23-7-3-3.
Majestic Harbor, off at 17-1, sat a good trip midpack with Tyler Baze to the far turn, tried to collar the winner leaving the quarter pole but could never get on terms while proving second-best, 2 1/4 lengths clear of Drill and Mike Smith.
“In my opinion, he was the best horse in the race,” said Baze of his mount. “I got a little excited with him and thought I was going to win and dropped my stick—he runs from it. I did the best I could with the trip I had.”
Majestic Harbor, the next-to longest price in the field, paid $15.20 and $5.20.
Drill, the fourth choice at 4-1, finished a nose in front of Majestic City and paid $3.20 to show.
Hollendorfer also saddled Rousing Sermon, who was never a factor and finished fifth with Rafael Bejarano as the second choice at 2-1.
Blueskiesnrainbows set fractions of 23.88, 47.91, 1:12.20 and 1:36.75.
Racing resumes at Santa Anita on Sunday, with first post time at 12:30 p.m. Admission gates open at 10:30 a.m.
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