ARCADIA, Calif. (April 9, 2016)–Last early, a rejuvenated Decked Out rallied wide turning for home to register and emphatic 2 ¾ length win in Saturday’s Grade III, $150,000 Providencia Stakes, the first of six stakes events on Santa Anita Derby Day at The Great Race Place. Trained by Keith Desormeaux and ridden by his Hall of Fame brother, Kent, Decked Out negotiated 1 1/8 miles over a turf course listed as “good” in 1:52.72.“I wish I could say that I’ve done something different with her, but really, it’s just been the switch to turf that’s turned her around,” said Keith Desormeaux, when asked if he could explain his filly’s rapid improvement. “It only took us about eight races to figure out that we should try the grass, and really, that’s been the biggest reason.”Breaking from the rail in a field of nine 3-year-old fillies, Decked Out was hammered down to 3-1 off of a morning line of 8-1 and paid $8.60, $5.40 and $3.80. Owned by Gene Voss and Big Chief Racing, LLC, Decked Out, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Street Boss, picked up $90,000 for the win, increasing her earnings to $202,768. In garnering her stakes win, Decked Out improved her overall mark to 10-2-1-3.“She’s matured,” said Kent Desormeaux. “She’s letting me drive, instead of wanting to go all out…Now she can go a mile and an eighth. That’s just maturity and Keith’s training.”Irish-bred Jeremy’s Legacy traded punches on the front end with Do the Dance and wrested control mid-way around the far turn, opened up two length advantage approaching the furlong pole, but was inhaled by the winner approaching the sixteenth marker and finished second, a head in front of an on-coming Nodiac.Ridden by Mario Gutierrez, Jeremy’s Legacy was off at 19-1 and paid $17.40 and $10.00.Nodiac, who was also bred in Ireland, finished well under Rafael Bejarano at 7-2 and paid $3.60 to show.Lady Valeur, who was favored at 2-1 with Gary Stevens, was attentive to the early pace but flattened out late to finish fifth.With the temporary rail set at 20 feet, fractions on the race were 23.51, 49.17, 1:15.14 and 1:40.36.
JOCKEY QUOTES RAFAEL BEJARANO, AVANTI BELLO, WINNER: “I thought he rushed too much in his last out at Los Alamitos when I saw it. He still ran well and finished well in the end but I knew (what I would do differently.)“I knew Boozer and Songforjohnmichael were coming from shorter distances and were going to show more speed today. I pretended to go to the lead to make the other horses go, they went and I found my position and waited as long as I could until the right moment. I knew that Soi Phet was going to come running in the end so I wanted to save a little bit.“I thought we won. When we got to the stretch I still had a little horse and he was fine.” DOUG O’NEILL, AVANTI BELLO, WINNER: “Rafael thought he was like riding a bike a little in that you have to keep (his) mind on the game. But, at the same time he’s a horse that is very tempting to shoot off to the lead early with because he has the gate speed. Rafael chose to sit in a reserved spot and when he called on him, he chirped at him he had saved enough for the end.” TRAINER QUOTES NOTES: The winning owners are Steve Keh of Glendale, CA, Jim Richardson of Danville, CA, Pablo Suarez of Valencia, CA, Tom Roberts of Corona, CA and Wonderland Racing Stables of Orange, Connecticut. KENT DESORMEAUX, SOI PHET, SECOND: “Gallant effort, I thought I won. I thought I won.”
ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 4, 2017)–Heavily favored St. Joe Bay shrugged off early pace pressure and a serious challenge a quarter mile from home while registering a 2 ¼ length win in Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 Palos Verdes Stakes under Kent Desormeaux. Trained by Peter Miller, the 5-year-old gelding got six furlongs in 1:08.75.“There was a lot more pressure (on him) than I thought,” said Miller. When is saw that four-horse (eventual last place finisher, Ocho Ocho Ocho) hounding me in 21 and two, I was like geeez. But this horse is just so good right now he’s got gears. When that gray horse (runner-up Moe Candy) came to him, I got a little concerned, but he had another gear.”A winner of the Grade III Midnight Lute Stakes here on Dec. 31, St. Joe Bay was off at 3-5 in a field of four older horses and paid $3.40 and $2.20 (no show wagering).“Well, there are certainly always anxious moments when you’re coming into the stretch like that but fortunately for me, St. Joe Bay did all the work,” said Desormeaux. “He had about 70 yards where he had a nice breather. For me, it’s just great to be on the Peter Miller team. He’s firing bullets right now.”Owned by Altamira Racing Stable and David A. Bernsen, St. Joe Bay, a Florida-bred gelding by Saint Anddan, got his third consecutive win Saturday and he now has an overall mark of 21-5-5-3. With the winner’s share of $120,000, he now has earnings of $377,175.Ridden by Victor Espinoza, Moe Candy loomed ominously turning for home, but the winner found plenty more, relegating “Moe” to second, finishing 4 ¼ lengths in front of Ike Walker. Off at 6-5, Moe Candy paid $2.20 to place.Fractions on the race were 21.48, 44.40 and 56.37.