A stretch to 1 ¼ miles proved no problem for Zestful as he dominated four opponents in the $100,000 Los Alamitos Special Sunday.
A 4-year-old Ghostzapper gelding who has been claimed three times this year – including for $8,000 in February – Zestful won his sixth race in a row and for the seventh time in 10 appearances in 2019.
The victory was the second for the Zestful since he was taken for $40,000 by a partnership that includes Danny Haramoto, Sheldon Kawahara, Steven Sobel and Mark Glatt. Claimed out of a main track win July 4 at Pleasanton, the chestnut, who is out of the Smoke Glacken mare Sweet Relish, won a starter allowance Aug. 8 on the Del Mar turf in his first race for his current connections.
Able to make the early lead, Zestful surrendered the advantage when 11-1 shot Soul Beam made an inside move to take over, but, after being given a breather by jockey Joe Talamo, the 3-2 second choice Sunday kicked away in the stretch to score by six lengths.
The win was the ninth in 24 lifetime starts for Zestful and the $60,000 payday pushed his bankroll to $209,941.
He paid $5 and $3. There was no show wagering.
Acker, the 13-10 favorite, saved the place by a nose over the Glatt-trained Meistermind. The place price on Acker was $2.80.
Soul Beam and French Getaway completed the order of finish.
“He's so cool,'' said Talamo, who also won the inaugural Los Alamitos Special with the Bob Baffert-trained Dabster a year ago. “He'll do whatever you want. I kept him two or three paths off the rail and gave him a breather on the far turn.
“He just took off at the quarter pole.''
Glatt, who said he lost a shake for Zestful when the gelding was claimed for $16,000 in March at Golden Gate Fields, said the horse's versatility was part of the reason he reached for him again in July. Zestful has won on dirt, turf and the synthetic surface at Golden Gate.
“It was that, but more about him getting really good and he showed an affinity to run farther, which helps horses become better horses,'' he said. “Plus, he ran for $8,000 earlier this year, so he's eligible for starter allowance races when they come up for as low as $8,000 for the next couple of years depending on how the races are written.
“I wasn't really worried when (Soul Beam) made what I thought was a premature move with this long stretch and I don't really believe this horse has to have the lead. It gave (Talamo) a chance to give the horse a breather for the kick home.''
Although he had to settle for second in the Los Alamitos Special, jockey Abel Cedillo had his best day of the meet, winning four times.
Cedillo, a 30-year-old native of Guatemala, won the third with Mongolian Hero, Rocko's Wheel in the fourth, Lucky Peridot in the fifth and completed his quadruple with Tizhotndusty in the eighth.
Racing resumes Thursday at Los Alamitos. Post time is 1 p.m.
New to the Paulick Report? Click here to sign up for our daily email newsletter to keep up on this and other stories happening in the Thoroughbred industry.
Copyright © 2020 Paulick Report.