With a suicidal pace battle to exploit, Caribou Club, with Joe Talamo at the controls, split horses a furlong from home and rallied to take Tuesday's Grade III, $100,000 Joe Hernandez Stakes by 1 1/4 lengths over two-time Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint winner Stormy Liberal at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif. A Glen Hill Farm homebred gelding by City Zip, 5-year-old Caribou Club is trained by Tom Proctor and got 6 1/2 furlongs down Santa Anita's hillside turf course in 1:11.66.
“He ran such a big race his last time out here at Santa Anita, down the hill,” said Talamo, in reference to a fast finishing third in the Grade III Eddie D Stakes on Sept. 28. “They went quick early today, so he was further back, but when they go two turns, he can lay up a little closer. Like I said, he's a really cool horse to ride.”
Taken in hand from his outside post position, Caribou Club was last after the first quarter mile and began to move up steadily down the hillside, as Conquest Tsunami and Cistron set a blistering early pace. At the dirt crossing, Caribou Club had moved into fifth position, just three lengths off the lead and split horses approaching the furlong pole en route to the victory.
A Grade II winner going seven furlongs on turf five starts back at Woodbine on June 2, Caribou Club was the second choice in the wagering at 3-1 and paid $8.60, $3.60 and $2.40.
Bred in Florida by his owner, Caribou Club, who is out of the Broken Vow mare Broken Dreams, is now 17-7-2-4. With the winner's share of $60,000, he increased his earnings to $504,744.
The Joe Hernandez Stakes is named in honor of the original “Voice of Santa Anita,” who called 15,587 consecutive races from the track's opening on Dec. 25, 1934, until he collapsed while calling a race on Jan. 27, 1972.
“It's nice to win a race,” said Proctor. “I didn't know him personally, but Joe Hernandez was calling the races here when I was a kid. He was great. He definitely had a distinctive voice with kind of a Spanish influence.”
Stormy Liberal, idle since his second successive Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint triumph on Nov. 3, was an attentive third, about 1 1/2 lengths off the lead after the first half mile, put in a bid but did not threaten the winner late.
Off at 4-5 with Drayden Van Dyke, Stormy Liberal, who along with Conquest Tsunami, was one of three Peter Miller-trained entrants, finished a half length in front of “Conquest” and paid $2.40 and $2.10.
Ridden by Joel Rosario, Conquest Tsunami appeared to make a comfortable lead, but was immediately engaged from his inside by Cistron, setting the stage for splits of 20.92, 42.10 and 1:05.37. Off at 7-2, Conquest Tsunami paid $2.80 to show.
For additional information, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.
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