The complexion of Monday's Grade III, $100,000 Los Angeles Stakes at Santa Anita changed dramatically with two minutes to post, as it was announced 3-5 favorite Wild Dude had been scratched by the stewards on the recommendation of the track veterinarian. As a result, trainer Bruce Headley's California-bred Cyclometer inherited the role of favorite and he acted accordingly, powering his way to a 2 ½ length win under Edwin Maldonado while getting six furlongs in 1:09.02.
A close second to Wine Police and Victor Espinoza after the first quarter mile, Cyclometer took command leaving the 3 ½ furlong pole and although Wine Police re-rallied a furlong out, Cyclometer shook loose late to win going away.
“Before they scratched the four horse (Wild Dude), I was going to see how my horse broke from the gate and take it from there,” said Maldonado. “When that horse scratched, it turned into a match race between me and the one (Wine Police) so I just figured I would let him run the way he wanted.
With the late scratch of Wild Dude, the Los Angeles field was reduced to three horses with no place and show wagering offered. Cyclometer, a 6-year-old horse by Cyclotron, paid $4.00 to win.
“He's extremely sharp,” said Headley, who notched his fourth career win in the “L.A,” which until Monday had been run at Hollywood Park. “He's always calm and cool, but he should have been closer in a couple other races. He stumbled twice at the gate, so those races didn't look too good. But we've been standing him a lot in the gate and doing a lot with him, so he's pretty calm in there now.
“When Wine Police came at us again, it looked like he was playing possum, and here he comes again, so it made your heart beat a little harder.”
Owned and bred by Headley, Irwin Molasky and Andrew Molasky, Cyclometer improved his record to 21-6-5-4 and with the winner's share of $60,000, he increased his earnings to $417,004.
For his part, Wine Police, who broke from the rail, battled gamely to the wire and finished 10 ¾ lengths clear of Color of Courage, who was never a factor.
“I wish I could have been outside (of the winner) because it would have made it easier to get position,” said Espinoza. “He pressured me throughout the race so I decided to wait and attack him in the end. My horse ran great. He ran big today but Cyclometer was just a little bit too much for him.”
Second, beaten a nose in the Grade II Potrero Grande Stakes on April 12, Wild Dude, who was to be ridden for the first time by Mike Smith, loomed strictly the horse to beat—until the late scratch.
“He was a little off in his left front,” said Santa Anita Racing Veterinarian Dana Stead. “I could see him jogging toward me (on the backstretch) and just as I noticed it, Mike flagged me to bring it to my attention. The horse will go on the vet's list for 10 days, at which point he'll be required to work a strenuous five eighths, and there will be blood testing.”
Fractions on the race were 21.47, 44.22 and 56.23.
View the full Equibase chart here.
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