A return to dirt and the maiden ranks helped Dark Vader spring a 10-1 upset Thursday at Los Alamitos.
Owned by a partnership that includes Sharon Alesia, Burns Racing LLC and Ciaglia Racing LLC and trained by Peter Eurton, Dark Vader, a 2-year-old Tale of Ekati colt, was up in the final strides to defeat 7-2 second choice Destiny Awaits by a nose.
Out of the Grand Slam mare Dark Obsession, Dark Vader, who was purchased for $150,000 at the OBS March sale, completed the mile in 1:37.17 under jockey Stewart Elliott.
The win pushed the Ohio-bred's earnings to $37,845 in four starts. Prior to Thursday, Dark Vader had finished second in his Los Alamitos debut, beaten a head by eventual Gold Rush Stakes winner City Plan Sept. 7 before he was off the board in a restricted stakes at Belterra Park and seventh of 10 in his turf debut at Del Mar.
Never far off the pace Thursday, Dark Vader collared Destiny Awaits, who stretched out and added blinkers for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert after finishing 10th of 11 in his Nov. 11 sprint debut, under left handed urging from Elliott. He paid $22.20, $8.20 and $4.40.
Destiny Awaits, who was ridden by Drayden Van Dyke, returned $5.40 and $3.80 while finishing a half-length in front of 7-1 shot Draft Pick. The show price on Draft Pick, who is also trained by Eurton, was $4.20.
Completing the order of finish were Canadian Game, Saratoga Morning, Regulate, the 9-10 favorite making his debut for Baffert, and Aquila.
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