Nick Alexander's homebred Pee Wee Reese earned his second graded stakes victory in Friday's Grade 2 Eddie D, making a move up the rail and streaking away down the stretch to win by three-quarters of a length as the 5-2 second choice. The 6-year-old son of Tribal Rule, ridden by Flavien Prat for trainer Phil D'Amato, covered five furlongs over Santa Anita's firm turf course in 55.33 seconds.
“Flavien had it in mind to stay at the back coming out of the jock's room so I told him to play the break,” said D'Amato. “To go suicidal in 21 is never a good thing, so I just told him to do what he thought was best and he got him in a nice spot in the pocket, found a hole there at the top of the lane and exploded through.”
Stormy Liberal was quick out of the gate before Boa Nova shot up to take the lead. With a 1 1/2-length advantage, Boa Nova sped through the first quarter in 21.41 seconds while Mr Vargas tracked from second. Behind those two was Stormy Liberal, sandwiched between Pee Wee Reese at the rail and Tribalist on the outside. The 9-5 favorite, Eddie Haskell, was second-last in the early going.
Pee Wee Reese found room at the rail under Prat and got first run toward the wire, skipping away by two lengths. Eddie Haskell was flying down the center of the track late but only cut that margin to three-quarters of a length at the wire. Stormy Liberal stayed on to finish third, while Double Touch came from last to be fourth.
Bred in California by his owner, Pee Wee Reese is out of the winning Unbridled's Song mare Bluegrass Belle. Requiring four starts to break his maiden, the horse broke through late in his sophomore season and immediately reeled off four consecutive victories. He won the G3 American Stakes two years ago, and the Eddie D win improves his overall record to eight wins from 15 starts for earnings of over $530,000.
“When you see the Cal-breds fall out and you see them broken, then see them at the track, you never know which is going to be a good and one which one is not,” Alexander said. “This guy was nothing special for his first couple races on the dirt, broke his maiden on the dirt just barely, and when we switched to the turf he was a different horse.
“Phil D' Amato has done an unbelievable job with this horse. He has only run 14 times, he's six years old, so in between races he's really done a lot to help him.
“Pee Wee Reese was the captain of the Dodgers and he was the one who befriended Jackie (Robinson) when he was first with the Dodgers. Pee Wee was part of the solution to get everyone to play together…that is why I named the horse after him.”
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